Thursday, July 2, 2009

Everything But The Kitchen Sink Pasta Primavera

This is a yummy dish that I came up with to use up leftover veggies and meat that I have in the house. It is super easy and always a big hit when I serve it for dinner. We had a catering this past weekend and had some veggies and shrimp leftover that the family didn't want, so I figured that I would make a yummy and cheap meal out of it. The amounts of ingredients below are estimates on what I used and some of it really depends on how much veggies you put in it and how much sauce that you want/need.

Shrimp Primavera
1 lb cooked and peeled shrimp, tails removed and the shrimp cut in half
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 zucchini, cut in half and sliced
1 squash, cut in half and sliced
3 cups broccoli florets
1 1/2 cups fresh green beans, cut into pieces
1 bell pepper, sliced (I had a mix of colors left from the catering)
1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes
2 TBL olive oil
1 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp of Old Bay Seasoning **only if you are making with shrimp
1/3 cup flour
2 cups chicken stock
3-4 cups milk (I used 2%)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1 1/2 cups of Parmesan cheese
1 TBL minced fresh basil leaves (optional)
1 TBL minced fresh flat leaf parsley (optional)
1 lb linguini or any other pasta you like

- Steam your green beans and broccoli in the microwave or on the stove to start the cooking process on them. These veggies take a little longer to get good and tender.
- Heat a large skillet with the olive oil. Add the onion, peppers, zucchini and squash and cook until it is starting to get tender. Add the garlic and cook another 2-3 min.
- Add the red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste
- Add the flour and stir until items are coated well.
- Slowly start adding the chicken stock and continue stirring. This is creating your thickening agent for the sauce.
- Slowly add the milk and let simmer so that it will thicken
- Add the broccoli, green beans, Old Bay and sugar and continue cooking
- When sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and not separate when you drag your finger on the spoon, the sauce is about ready.
- Add your herbs and shrimp and cook until the shrimp are heated
- Add the heavy cream and cheese and stir until melted
- Cook your pasta and serve the sauce over this.

Some variations that you could do...
- Other veggies: carrots (steam first), scallions, diced tomato (added near the end), sundried tomato, etc
- You could use veggie stock instead of chicken stock or even water. You will need to add more salt and pepper for flavor if you use water
- You could use chicken instead of shrimp...or better yet just do veggies
- If you don't have fresh herbs, the dried will work just fine. Just cut way back on the amounts because dry herbs go a lot farther than fresh.

This recipe is a great way to use up stuff that you have in your fridge without buying special stuff. I usually always have heavy cream, milk, pasta and chicken broth on hand so I can get real creative with stuff.

Until next time...

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