Everyone has that go-to meal that they turn to after a busy day. Pasta is that meal for me. Pasta does not need to be heavy or complicated, and this shortcut creamy pasta e piselli will not leave you in a carb-coma (if you know, you know).
What on earth is pasta e piselli?
Pasta e piselli is a fancy way of saying pasta with peas. Doesn't sound nearly as exciting, does it? There are a number of ways to make this super simple pasta dish, but I bumped it up with some meaty chunks of pancetta, and chicken. This dish can easily be made vegetarian by omitting both, and will still be equally as satisfying!
Shortcut cream sauce? I'm in!
So, cream sauce is not exactly hard to make. I am sucker for a nice and cheesy alfredo, sometimes even the jarred stuff (shhhh dont tell), but like I vulnerably admitted here, I am definitely looking for lighter alternatives to my favourites.
The secret to my cream sauce? Light cream cheese and starchy pasta water! You would not guess that there is no heavy cream, and no heaps of cheese (although, thats never a bad thing).
Pasta water = Liquid gold!
I once read somewhere that starchy pasta water is like liquid gold. People in the comments scoffed at how overly-dramatic that statement was, but I mean, it's the truth. Starchy pasta water is what you need to perfect your pasta sauces, or in this case, even make the sauce. If you have ever found that your sauces don't stick well to your pasta, pasta water will change that. Start saving your pasta water (aka liquid gold)!
Whole wheat spaghetti? Is it any good?
No, no I have not lost it. I have always been a lover of whole wheat pasta - yes, willingly. If you are a fan of the texture of al dente pasta, the texture of whole wheat pasta will be right up your alley. Truth be told, I don't notice much of a difference between whole wheat and regular pasta, but I appreciate the health benefits nonetheless! HELLO shortcut creamy pasta e piselli!
Shortcut Creamy Pasta e Piselli
- ½ Package Whole wheat spaghettini
- 55 g Italian pancetta diced
- 1 Chicken breast boneless, skinless, cubed
- 3 cloves Garlic minced
- ½ cup Green peas
- 2 tsp Chilli flakes
- 1 tbsp Light cream cheese
- ½ cup Starchy pasta water
- 1 tbsp Prepared pesto
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Boil Pasta: Boil pasta until al dente. Save at least ½ cup of the pasta water before draining.
- Brown the Chicken: In a large stainless steel skillet over medium heat, crisp the pancetta. Add the cubed chicken, and brown. Add the red chilli flakes, and cook for 2 minutes.
- Make the Sauce: Lower the heat, and add the cream cheese. Let it melt slightly, and add half of the pasta water. Combine well. Season with black pepper and salt to taste.
- Combine: Add the green peas, and top with drained pasta. Add the remaining pasta water, and toss.