Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Pastina with Peas and Carrots

This week at I Heart Cooking Clubs we have Spring Fever.  Except...I have a confession to make.  I'm not ready for spring.  To me, spring means less time in the kitchen and more time outside.  I'm not really an outside person.  I am a kitchen person.  You see the dilemma.  It may sound crazy, but I love winter because it's quiet and peaceful and I don't have to feel guilty about spending hours in the kitchen. But when spring rolls around....LOOK OUT!  The action is nonstop and I always find myself short on time.  So I know it sounds kinda crazy, but spring is a little bittersweet for me.  I look forward to the warmer weather, the fresh produce, and trips to the farmers market, BUT (and it's a big but) I really miss the solitude of my kitchen that only winter can bring.  I wouldn't dare tell this to anyone else for fear that it sounds somewhat strange, but it's true.  Plus, I think you guys will understand where I'm coming from.

Now that I've shared that, I should tell you that this recipe is one that I can see myself making over and over and over.  It initially caught my eye because I thought the pasta, with it's peas and carrots, would be perfect for our Spring Fever theme.  I knew the family would enjoy it, but I was surprised by how much we loved it!  It's a very pleasing and mild dish, but yet it has quite a bit of flavor to it.  This pasta is a combination of all sorts of yummy ingredients: baby farfalle pasta, onion, peas, carrots, and both mascarpone and cream cheese. This recipe is very much like a macaroni and cheese and is a successful way to get kids to eat their veggies.  What's not to like about that?
Pastina with Peas and Carrots
Recipe sourced online from Food Network
Serves 6
  • 1/2 pound (8 ounces) pastina or other small-shaped pasta, such as farfallini
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 cup frozen petite peas, thawed
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally until soft, about 7 minutes. Add the carrots and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add the peas to the pan and cook for 2 minutes until the peas are warmed through and the carrots are tender. Stir in the cooked pasta. Remove the pan from the heat and add the cheeses. Stir until the mixture is incorporated and forms a sauce. Season with salt, to taste. Transfer to a large serving bowl and garnish with chopped basil.

Notes/Results:  I can see myself making this recipe numerous times in the future.  It's one of those good standby recipes that the whole family enjoys.  It's not that it's mind-blowing or anything like that, it's just something that is surprisingly delicious, easy, and a very good alternative to serve the family.  For all of these reasons, I think it's probably one of my favorite Giada recipes in the past six months.  Definitely a winner!
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  1. This is a great mid week meal, I could see kids loving this.
    *kisses* HH

  2. If you can get kids to eat peas, you're on the right track. I must confess that next to zucchini and okra, the other green veggie that never passes my lips is peas. I would love pasta with carrots or pasta with broccoli get the picture. I hear you about less time in the kitchen during the nice weather. Of course, there's always the grill.

  3. Sometimes simple dishes are the best ones. This one looks like a crowd pleaser and I know for a fact this would be VERY well received in our home.
    I totally understand where you are coming from with Spring arriving. Like you, I enjoy the produce, the warmer weather, but I do miss my time in the kitchen as well. With longer days and nice days it seems we are always on the go especially with 3 kids :o)

  4. Grand comforting meal. How about you come to MN and cook in the kitchen and I'll go to Kentucky and find spring? (Love the cream cheese in this)

  5. I find myself spending just as much time in the kitchen in the spring...but that's probably just because I'm supposed to be stuck inside studying no matter the weather! In which case, my opinion doesn't really count.

    This pasta looks absolutely delicious! Love that it has mascarpone AND cream cheese. The good stuff in life.

  6. First, this looks gorgeous!

    Second, sounds like you need to take your kitchen outdoors! Claim your deck/patio as YOUR outdoor kitchen.

    But I each his own. I am SOOOO ready for spring because I am out of basil, oregano, rosemary, and anything else from last year at this point. I need fresh herbs!

  7. This looks great. And I love your blogs tagline. I feel the same way! There are too many things I want to try!

  8. Comfort food...simplicity...what more could you ask for?! I am with you Kim, so ready for the cold weather to end. Yes, we have been getting wamer temps in Florida than you have but it has been cold and I'm tired of being cooped up.

    Your dish is great for the Spring Fever theme.

  9. This looks really good, and I'm not a fan of peas. I would eat this though!

    As an outside person, I love spring! But I know what you mean about spending less time in the kitchen.

  10. That looks marvelous, Kim. Love the mascarpone in don't often see that. Yummy!

  11. I miss the change of seasons here and always used to look forward to spring and fall. ;-)

    This looks yummy--creamy pasta with peas and carrots would make me happy. Great pick.

  12. Lovely, I bet the kids loved it! I was thinking carrots and peas too - very Peter Rabbit. ;-)

  13. i totally understand, i think it took a good three months off last year because i just never had time in the kitchen and i missed it!

    don't you love those baby bowties! so cute, and absolutely tasty in this dish!

  14. I have to admit that I enjoy the comfort of my kitchen in cold weather too. With that said, in Spring I can throw open my windows, drag my table/chairs to the patio, turn up the music and enjoy meals (including Sunday Supper) outside, it's delightful.

    This pasta dish is not only really good, it is a super-kid friendly dish. For me, anytime a vegetable can be snuck in within the pasta, its a good thing.


  15. I love how creamy and satisfying this looks. I am not looking forward to spring for the same reason as seems to get too busy and I am enjoying the quiet of winter still. Another fabulous recipe from your kitchen.

  16. Kim, you know that opposites attract? I think that's why I wuv you so much! Since I came from nearly 30 years of sub-zero temperature winters in Iowa, I have always longed for the days of spring. Now living in the South, I could not return to those winters unless absolutely necessary. It is a delimma, it's true, especially, as you said, regarding the time that beckons us to do so many things in the garden. But since Midwestern farming is in my blood, I'm most at home with dirty fingers and soil all over my knees . . . and then into the kitchen I go.

    I love, love, love this recipe. I made something so similar to it, even with Farfalle last summer. Claudia has a peas and vermicelli recipe over on her blog too. Such a great combo! I'll need to try this too!

  17. Don't you just love those little baby farfalle? I have those in my pantry all the time! And to be honest, I always have a bag of peas & carrots in my freezer.

    I can sure understand what you mean about Spring. Don't get me wrong, I would still rather have spring than winter. I still spend just as much time in the kitchen (ok, so a lot more time on the deck with the grill than in the kitchen), I just open the windows and breathe the fresh air while I'm doing it!

  18. Hi Kim! I wanted to thank you for sharing your pastina with peas and carrots recipe last week on my little bloggy get-together. I love this recipe so much as it is so seasonal and delicious . . . so I featured it and your blog today for my foodie fave post. Keep those great recipes coming out of that busy kitchen of yours! Roz

  19. Would I be able to throw some chicken in this recipe somehow?

  20. Brandi - Yes, chicken would be a great way to round out this meal. I would add a little bit of shredded rotisserie chicken.


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