quick sides: creamy pesto pasta

 

During the week I like to make quick meals.  We also don’t eat a ton of pasta during the week.  But this past week was an exception.  I had made pesto on the weekend that I wanted to use up.  Since my husband is on a new routine we have been measuring everything out.  The meal plan limits carbs so incorporating them in as a side dish instead of a main meal made sense.  And it was the perfect use for my leftover pesto.

Since I wanted to mix up the usual plain pesto dish, I started thinking about what I could add to it.  Something nice and creamy sounded good to balance the nuttiness of the pasta.  Usually I don’t use heavy cream a ton in my cooking.  However goat cheese can add a creamy texture to a meal without all the fat.  For additional flavor I went with a goat cheese with herbs to enhance the basil from the pesto.  The goat cheese and pesto alone made the pasta kind of thick so using a little chicken broth it helped thin the “sauce” out. 

While on this meal plan, my husband is limited to the amount of refined carbs like bread and pastas.  So I decided to go with a whole wheat organic spaghetti noodle to give the dish a little more heartiness.  Topping this dish off with a little lemon zest gave the pasta a little freshness even though the pesto was made a few days prior.  Also by using a good quality fresh Parmesan to sprinkle over the top added to the nuttiness of the pasta and brought out the pinenuts in the pesto.

Pasta as a side dish doesn’t have to have a negative connotation to it.  If you watch what you put over it and cut back on the serving size it can be healthy – and filling!  And did I mention quick?  There was virtually no prep to this meal.  Once the noodles were done cooking, everything got stirred together and served.  Pair it with your favorite protein and vegetable for a complete, balanced and easy to make dinner.

creamy pesto pasta
Serves 4
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Prep Time
2 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
2 min
Cook Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 lb whole wheat spaghetti noodles
  2. 4 oz goat cheese with herbs
  3. 1 c pesto (homemade or store bought)
  4. 1/2 - 1 c chicken or vegetable stock
  5. zest of one lemon
  6. parmesan cheese for topping
Instructions
  1. To start, bring a large pot of water to a boil. I like to generously salt my pasta cooking water to give my noodles flavor. Once the water is boiling add pasta. Cook the pasta according to the cooking directions for al dente (the pasta will continue to cook after it's drained). Once pasta is al dente, drain and return to the pot.
  2. Over medium to medium low heat add the pesto to the pasta. Next use a spoon to add dollops of the goat cheese to the pasta. Stir pasta to incorporate everything. Add in some of the chicken broth to prevent the pasta from sticking to the pan. Once the cheese is melted if the pasta is too thick add in the remaining chicken broth. Start with half a cup and if it is still too thick add another half cup.
  3. Finally, to serve top with a little Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of the lemon zest.
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