Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pasta with Creamy Pea-Walnut-Sauce

I had made a similar dish a few years back. When I was looking for a pasta dish to include in this week's meal plan, I came across this recipe again. I had all ingredients already - so this was a no-brainer. I like flavor combination of this dish. The wine, the creaminess, a little crunchy bacon and the soft peas. The original recipe calls for 250 ml heavy cream, but you can easily use half-and-half or anything from skim to whole milk. If you replace all or part of the cream, I recommend to thicken the sauce, though. I love sauce but it has to have a certain amount of viscosity.

Six months ago: Shrimp Saganaki

500 g pasta of your choice (I used Rotini)
75 g chopped walnuts
250 g green peas (fresh or frozen)
4 slices bacon
1 large onion, chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, smashed
175 ml white wine
125 ml heavy (or light) cream
125 ml low-fat milk
cornstarch (optional)

Prepare pasta as per directions. Drain. In the meantime, roast walnuts in a skillet without oil over medium-low heat until fragrant and golden brown, about 7-8 minutes. Remove to a plate and let cool. Bring 1/2" salted water to a boil, add peas, and cook for 5-6 minutes until soft. Drain and set aside. Cook bacon in a medium skillet or oven until crisp. Drain on paper towels and crumble. Discard all but 2-3 tsp bacon fat. In a medium skillet over medium heat, cook onions in the bacon fat until soft, about 8-10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add wine, cream, milk, bacon, and pepper, and cook in the open skillet for 7-8 minutes. Add peas and cook for 1 minute. Thicken with cornstarch if desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve pasta with sauce and top with walnuts.

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