Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Creamy Penne with Asparagus, Peas, Mushroom and Pancetta (Kid Friendly Collection)

I have been looking for some toddler friendly recipes and I finally came across this one from Cooking Light.  The easy part about this is that it is a "one pot" dish (just a bit more involved). Anyway, the outcome was pretty delicious. and blog worthy.  I like the fact that the white sauce is not from a jar or bottle in the grocery aisle but made with 2% milk, flour and butter the old fashioned way.  Interestingly, no cheese.  Also love that there are so many vegetables in here for kids. If you have a spice garden in the spring/summer, it would be really convenient for fresh herbs but maybe dried herbs would work too.

Ingredients: 
Pancetta (1/2 inch thick slice from deli chopped into small squares)
Mushrooms sliced (any type)
Frozen peas (1 cup)
Asparagus bunch (Cut into 2 inch pieces and discard ends)
Fresh Thyme (1 tablespoon chopped) and fresh Parsley (3 tablespoon chopped)
1 Bay leaf
Lemon rind (1 teaspoon) and juice used instead of wine to deglaze
1/4 cup white wine (I use 2 tablespoons each lemon juice and water instead and it works great!)
3 cups unsalted chicken stock
2% Milk -- 2.5 cups
Beurre Manie (2 tablespoons all-purpose flour + 2 tablespoons butter, softened) - this will be used for thickening later
1.5 cups uncooked penne (whole wheat brown or regular)
Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper

1) Make Beurre manié by combining flour and butter in a bowl until a paste forms.
2) Chop Asparagus, mushrooms and keep them ready.  Zest the lemon.
3) Use a deep sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add oil, heat and add pancetta.  Toss for 2 minutes and add mushrooms and asparagus.  Sauté 5 minutes or until browned. Add wine to deglaze and add salt (1/4 tsp). Remove and set aside
4) To the same pan, add 3 cups stock and 2 cup milk + penne + bay leaf  Bring to a boil.
5) Cook 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in peas and cook. Salt to taste (1/2 tsp)
6) Add 1/2 cup milk, salt (1/4 tsp), thyme. Mix and add butter-flour paste, in pieces, stirring.
9) Remove from heat; stir in mushroom and asparagus mixture, parsley, rind, and black pepper (pinch is ok and gives strong flavor due to lightness of sauce).
So delicious!