Meatless Monday: Lemon-Basil Pasta

29 03 2011

What has two thumbs and loves meat? This girl. BUT – we all know animal protein is not very good for us in large quantities, so I’ve always tried to cook a few meals each week that contain no meat and isn’t loaded with cheese. My recipe stash for meatless meals is a little thin so I’m always on the lookout for a filling, healthy meal that sounds delicious too. If it doesn’t even sound good, you know you’re in trouble and doomed to order that ridiculously caloric take-out.

I found this recipe in Better Homes & Garden’s March 2011 issue. I modified it a bit with what I had in the house, but stuck to the recipe as much as I can (it’s really hard for me to cook according to the recipe, it feels so constraining!). My slightly modified version is below:

Lemon-Basil Pasta
start to finish: 25 minutes

10 oz. fresh pappardelle (sorry y’all, I’m OBSESSED with pappardelle)
1 15 oz. can white beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 lemon, zested then juiced
1 small garlic clove, minced
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves (recipe calls for 1 cup, I would have liked more, but my basil was not looking so hot)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, adding beans for the last two minutes. Remove 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid; set aside. Drain pasta and beans; cover to keep warm.

2. While pasta is cooking, heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, let sizzle for 1 minute. Add lemon zest to garlic and let cook, stirring constantly, for another minute, until lightly golden.

3. In food processor combine cooked lemon peel & garlic, remaining 2 Tbsp of evoo, juice from the lemon half, salt & pepper. Cover and process until smooth. Add reserved cooking liquid, 1 Tbsp at a time until desired consistency, processing mixture after every addition.

4. To serve, toss hot cooked pasta mixture with lemon-basil mixture.

The result was a delicious, healthier meal for us! I will definitely add this to my meatless rotation.

Sorry for the lack of pictures, some days we’re lucky dinner made it to the table!

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