Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pastina with Peas and Carrots

As of late, my daughter (who is 20 months-old) has been a picky eater. I know that she eats a lot of organic fruits and veggies and proteins at daycare, but when she's home with me she gives me attitude and doesn't particularly like the food I give her. I don't know if she's doing it on purpose because she knows I'll give in and just give her mac and cheese or some cereal with soy milk (which she LOVES for some reason). So yesterday I was determined make her a healthier dinner that I hoped she would eat and I am glad I did take that extra time to make her this pastina with peas and carrots recipe.
I watched Giada make this a long time ago on a Food Network show, and I finally found the recipe here. Unfortunately, I could not find pastina, nor the mini-farfalle at my grocery store, so I just used penne pasta, which I cut in half after it had cooked so that it wasn't too big for my daughter.

The recipe is ridiculously easy. Using frozen sweet peas is the key and I am not entirely a fan of mascarpone unless it's on tiramisu, so I used 3/4 cup cream cheese and 1/4 cup mascarpone instead. Also, I only added a small amount of basil for Stella's portion, but added the rest of the basil for the adult version (as well as some freshly ground pepper). This is quite a nice pasta dish with lots of veggies and good textures. Next time, though, I definitely am going to try to use pastina.

INGREDIENTS (makes 6 small servings)
  • 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. Add a little of the reserved pasta water to make sauce to your prefered consistency (optional). I didn't have to use any additional pasta water, however.

Season with salt, to taste. Transfer to a large serving bowl and garnish with chopped basil.

Stella's portion

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