Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Presto Pasta Nights: Microwave Garden Pea, Mushroom and Shrimp Pasta Alfredo

Ruth from Once Upon a Feast hosts a weekly event called Presto Pasta Night where the only requirement is you post a recipe with pasta. It can be hot or cold from Italy or from Indiana; it doesn't matter. It just has to be pasta.

As you know, during the work week I am sans kitchen with only a microwave in my room in Fairfield, CT. I have to admit it has taken me a bit to get used to cooking with a microwave and there have been a few disasters. In our house in Cambridge, it is MBH who is king of the microwave. All the struggling to understand the cooking times and power settings is starting to pay off though. Best of all, I'm having fun coming up with easy recipes that I can cook with minimal prep but that use fresh ingredients vs. frozen dinners and the such.

I was craving fish last night but the fish at the store didn't look very fresh. I wandered around trying to decide what to fix for my dinner that would be healthy, home made and fresh. Walking over to the produce section, I spied garden peas and mushrooms. All the sudden fresh pasta with peas and mushrooms in a light cream sauce started to sound pretty good! I had some fresh pasta in my fridge and some low sodium, low fat chicken stock as well as fat free half and half. The only thing I needed was some protein and something to thicken my sauce with since I have no flour. Wandering back to the fish and seafood section, I picked up 8 large pre-cooked cocktail shrimp and noticed the packets of Knorr sauces and seasonings on the end of pasta aisle. Ah ha! I can use a very small amount of the Knorr Alfredo pasta sauce to season and thicken my sauce. Heading home, I gathered my ingredients and created a delicious and healthy pasta dish for my dinner that was ready to eat in less than 15 minutes.

Filling, light, and perfect for a gorgeous spring night...

Microwave Garden Pea, Mushroom, Shrimp Pasta in a Light Alfredo Sauce
Serving size 1 1/2 Cup; serves 1

1 cup fresh linguine or angel hair pasta
8 large cooked cocktail shrimp with shells removed
1/4 cup fresh or frozen sweet peas (no sauce)
4 Crimini or small button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup low sodium, low fat chicken stock
2 Tbsp fat free half and half
2 tsp Knorr Alfredo Sauce mix
2 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
fresh ground pepper

In 1 cup liquid measuring cup or small microwave dish, combine chicken stock, half and half, and sauce mix with a whisk. Cover with plastic wrap and heat for 1 1/2 minutes on high. Stir, re-cover and microwave for an additional 1 1/2 minutes on high; watching carefully to prevent from boiling over. Stir, add peas and mushrooms, cover and set aside.

In 2 cup liquid measuring cup or large microwave dish, add 1 cup water and pasta. Cover, and cook on high for 4 minutes; watching for boil over. Let sit for 2 minutes and cook for additional 3-4 minutes on high, until pasta is almost al dente. Add shrimp, cover and let sit for 2 - 3 minutes until pasta is finished cooking and shrimp are heated through.

Drain shirmp and pasta and toss with sauce. Sprinkle with fresh ground pepper and Parmesan cheese.

Serve with green salad or one piece crusty bread.

370 Calories, 6 Grams of Fat per serving