Sunday, May 18, 2014

Creamy Pesto Pasta

So for some reason, I thought about this pasta this week.  I haven't made pasta in awhile, I had carrots and broccoli that I hadn't cooked. I remembered my Weight Watchers cookbook (maybe I read an article about WW?) with this fettucini alfredo recipe in it that I used to make a lot back in the pre-kid days.

But one day at work, I googled "Creamy Pesto pasta recipe" because I have pesto in the freezer (and I got basil this week too).  I found this recipe from Budget Bytes, which is a great blog if you haven't seen it yet.  Very well done.

Being me, I morphed the two.  I love the WW recipe but I got home late and it called for making a roux, and I didn't feel up to it.  So I started boiling the water, started chopping the veggies, cooked the pasta, then made the pesto, and finally cooked up the sauce and tossed everything together.  I didn't salt it enough, but that's easy enough to fix.  I served it with meatballs (not pictured, because they are pre-made frozen meatballs that I bought in a 5 lb bag).

I also doubled the recipe, because 1/2 lb of pasta makes 4 servings, which is 1.5 meals for us,  I need leftovers.

Creamy Pesto Pasta (adapted from WW and Budget Bytes)
1 lb pasta: 1.00
1 bunch basil: 1.00
4 cloves garlic: 0.40
2 T olive oil: 0.26
8 oz cream cheese: 1.99
1/3 c. parmesan cheese: 0.45
2 head broccoli, cut into small florets and the stem peeled and sliced: 1.20
1/4 of a red bell pepper, cut into 1/3 inch x 1 inch strips: 0.25
4 carrots, sliced: 0.60
S&P to taste
Total: $6.91 for 8 servings, or $0.86 per serving.

Bring the water to boil.  Boil pasta according to package directions, but set your timer for about 2 minutes before it's due to be finished.

Make the pesto: in a food processor, add the garlic and process until chopped.  Scrape down the sides, add the basil and parmesan and blend.  Scrape one more time and blend.  Stream in the olive oil.

Prep the vegetables.  When your timer goes off, add the veggies to the boiling water.  Return to a boil and boil 2-3 minutes, depending on how you like it.

In a small saucepan, mix the cream cheese and 1/3 cup of pasta water (once you've added the veggies).  Heat and stir until the cream cheese has mixed in and made a sauce.  Add in the pesto (all of it) and stir until blended.

Drain the pasta and veggies (remember to take out the pasta water for your sauce!)

Return pasta/ veggies to pot, stir in the sauce, add S&P to taste.

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