You know when spring comes, you start to crave green veggies again? This is a deliciously creamy spring pasta with peas and spinach, and it is all the things you want in pasta during spring!
This dish is easy to make, yet it is bursting of various flavors and textures like a creamy sauce, juicy chicken, fresh green spring veggies like spinach and peas, fresh parsley and walnuts. And of course, let's not forget the pasta.
If you're feeling spring as much as I do now, I also recommend that you try these lemony asparagus, green chartreuse and grapefruit cocktail and of course some bright desserts like lemon meringue cupcakes or mango lime curd macarons! Or keep up to date with my spring and Easter category.
Let's see what this pasta with peas recipe entails:
- Onion: The perfect base for the cream sauce. Chop very finely or roughly, all depending on how you like it!
- Garlic: Some extra umami flavor to the sauce.
- Spinach: Some extra green. Spinach is high in vitamin A, K, C, a lot of folate, potassium and iron.
- Peas: Frozen peas work best because they don't turn to mush too quickly. Keeping their snap and their shape - perfect!
- Parsley: I LOVE parsley with creamy sauces!
- Chicken thighs: some juicy protein! You can use chicken breast too, or even something completely different like shrimp or more veggies.
- Heavy cream: Making it a delicious and indulgent cream sauce.
- Milk: To avoid making the sauce too indulgent. Any ratio of these two work.
- Parmesan cheese: Brings both saltiness and umami to the sauce.
- Pasta: any shape will do but I love farfalle for this. Next in line are penne and fusilli.
- Walnuts: love that extra crunch! Omit if necessary, or swap for pine nuts for a lighter flavor.
- Olive oil: to avoid burning the food. You can use a neutral oil like canola if you prefer.
- Cornstarch: to thicken the cream sauce. If you find it thick enough, you don't have to add any!
- Flavorings: paprika powder, salt and pepper, vinegar
So I've already mentioned some possible variations in the ingredients list. A lot of the ingredients are swappable, but you can also add more flavorings. Here I have three ideas for you:
- Lemony artichoke: Add zest of one lemon and three roughly chopped canned artichoke hearts when you add the spinach. Right before serving, drizzle over however much lemon juice as you want, start with 2 tablespoons.
- Sun-dried tomato pesto: When cooking the onion, add 2-3 tablespoons of sun-dried tomato pesto. I meannn, YUM.
- Healthier: To healthify this dish, replace the heavy cream with more milk. Omit the walnuts and choose whole wheat pasta. Also, you could increase the amount of spinach!
- Ricotta sauce: You actually don't have to make a cream sauce to get that creamy sensation. Add 1-2 cups of ricotta cheese directly into the chicken when adding the veggies instead. However, I would then cook the chicken with garlic and onion too.
- Bacon: Cook some bacon before cooking the chicken. Take it out and crumble it, then sprinkle it over the dish when it's done. Who doesn't love bacon?
The fun thing about this pasta with peas is that it is highly customizable with whatever you have in your kitchen. Some of these variations are already in the works here at Ginger with Spice, so here you get a good head start!
This dish is best eaten immediately, but it can definitely be stored too. Once the dish has reached room temperature, add to a container with a tight lid and store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
To re-heat, add it to a large saucepan over medium low heat. You may need to add a splash or two of water. Cook until warmed through, about 10 minutes. I'm sorry, it will overcook the pasta, but it is still eatable!
It can also be frozen, just remember to write the name of the dish and date on it! Keeps well for at least 2 months, but it remains safe after that as well. Thaw in the refrigerator over night and then proceed with re-heating as stated above.
How to make it
First, let's make the sauce: Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a saucepan and heat to medium high heat. Once hot, add in the diced onion and cook for about 5 minutes (2), then add the garlic and cook another minute or until fragrant (3).
Mix the cornstarch with the milk and heavy cream and pour into the onion. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese (4). Let this thicken for 5 minutes before adding vinegar, salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste.
Meanwhile the sauce is thickening, make the chicken: Heat a large skillet with 1 tablespoon olive oil and once hot, add in the cubed chicken thighs. Sprinkle with paprika powder, onion salt and freshly cracked pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes or until cooked through (5).
At the same time, boil pasta as stated on the package, drain. Yes, it involves some multi-tasking but isn't that what makes cooking fun?
Add frozen peas, fresh spinach and cream sauce to the chicken (6-8). Carefully mix in the pasta. In a small non-stick pan, dry roast chopped walnuts for a couple of minutes, or until fragrant. Sprinkle on top of the dish, alongside fresh parsley.
Did you like this recipe? Here are more pasta recipes I think you would like:
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