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A tangy, creamy pasta perfect for spring with a bright, lemony Alfredo sauce and fresh peas and zucchini. Try this Spring Alfredo as a side dish, or you can add protein such as grilled chicken or shrimp and make a meal of it!
So last week I was craving pasta (again!), and I didn't really know what I wanted to make. When this is the case, I usually just go to the grocery store and look around and see what I can find. Something will usually just pop out at me. As I was looking at all of the fresh produce, I came across a bag of fresh peas. Fresh peas! In all my years of cooking, I have never come across fresh peas...ever! I don't know if it's where we live, or what. I just resigned myself to the fact they didn't exist here. So of course, I just had to use these very exciting fresh peas in my pasta.
After calming down from my discovery in the produce department, I remembered a beautiful picture of a pasta recipe with peas on the cover of my new Food Network magazine. I decided I would go with something along those lines, so this Spring Alfredo recipe is inspired by this recipe. Since the pasta was going to be meatless, I wanted to add another veggie. I already had some zucchini I needed to use up, so that was my choice!
When I cook pasta, I always like to check out the pasta aisle for any unique and different pastas they may have in stock. When I was looking for pasta for this recipe, I actually found the exact type they used in the magazine, which was a long fusilli pasta. Similar to the length of spaghetti. This is the type of pasta that I used. Any type of pasta would work well with this recipe, especially any one with ridges which will hold onto the creamy sauce.
Tips for making Spring Alfredo with Lemon, Peas and Zucchini
The actual recipe called for mascarpone cheese, which I'm sure would have made this wonderful, but the store I went to didn't have any. I made substitutions as needed, and it came out wonderful. If you want to go ahead and use the mascarpone, remove the cream cheese, heavy cream and sour cream. Use 1 cup of mascarpone cheese.
If you find other in season spring veggies that look fresh and tasty, feel free to substitute! Some good options would be asparagus, artichokes, broccoli, mushrooms or cauliflower.
Spring Alfredo with Lemon, Peas and Zucchini
- 1 zucchini medium
- ½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound fusilli pasta
- ½ tablespoon salt
- 1½ cups peas fresh or frozen
- 6 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 8 ounces Parmesan cheese shredded or fresh grated
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- Slice zucchini in half lengthwise, then slice into ½" half moons. Heat ½ tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet until hot. Add zucchini in an even layer, and let brown on one side for 2-3 minutes. Flip and brown on other side. Remove from skillet.
- Cook pasta in a large pot according to package directions. Add about a half tablespoon of salt to the pasta water to season the pasta. About 3 minutes before pasta is done, add peas to pasta and water. Drain pasta and peas, but save a cup or two of the pasta water.
- In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese, heavy cream and sour cream.
- In the same skillet the zucchini was cooked in, add butter and olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add garlic and cook stirring constantly, until light brown. Garlic can burn quickly so make sure to keep an eye on it. Add a cup of the pasta water, then add the pasta and peas. Toss to coat pasta.
- To the pasta, add the cream cheese mixture, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. If the pasta is too dry, add a little bit of the saved pasta water until it is at the desired creamy consistency.
- Garnish with extra Parmesan cheese.
If you liked this recipe, you may want to check out this recipe for Mac and Cheese with Chorizo and Roasted Poblanos!