As a mom, I’m always trying to find quick, healthy meals to make for my family. There are just some nights that I need to throw together a meal that I can make in no time, so that we are still eating together as a family but also eating healthy at the same time.
When I say healthy, I mean I read the labels of food I’m buying to ensure that the list of ingredients isn’t full of additives and things I’ve never heard of. I also try and switch out ingredients when I’m trying to lighten up a recipe for better/healthier options. I have a house full of picky eaters too, so I try to create and make meals that everyone can enjoy. This Lemon Pepper pasta is one of those meals.
It only takes about 30 minutes from start to finish to make it and put it on the table. You can use any pasta but I literally just discovered this Lemon Pepper Pappardelle Pasta from Trader Joes.
I always buy their regular pappardelle pasta but one day the store associate asked if I had tried the Lemon Pepper kind. So I did and I could not believe how insanely delicious it is. Now, of course I can’t get enough. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s close to you, you can use any wide noodle pasta instead. For the sauce, the ingredients are lightened up by reducing the amount of flour that’s usually in a typical alfredo sauce. I’m using low fat skim milk as well as evaporated milk instead of heavy cream. These few small changes reduce calories by almost half and the flavor is in no way compromised.
You’ll want to have two pans ready, one pot for boiling your pasta and a saucepan that’s for your sauce but big enough to transfer your noodles in. About a 12 inch pan. Measure out your sauce ingredients and have them ready to go. In a large stock pot, bring about 6 quarts of water to boil. When your water is almost boiling, prepare your saucepan by turning the heat to medium and add 1 T of olive oil. Add the noodles to the boiling water and cook according to manufacture’s directions. While to noodles are cooking, add the 2 minced cloves of garlic to the pre-heated pan. Cook only for 30 seconds, you don’t want your garlic to burn, so keep a close eye on it.
Add the flour-milk mixture and turn the heat up to medium-high and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook for approx 2 more minutes.
Add the evaporated milk, the parmesan cheese, 1 tsp kosher salt, the zest of 1 lemon and 1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice. Cook, stirring until the cheese is melted through, about 1-2 minutes.
When the pasta is ready, using a pasta fork, transfer the noodles, to the cream sauce. Don’t drain the noodles first. In order to coat your noodles perfectly it’s important to pull the noodles out of the water, then add them to the sauce. This will help the sauce adhere to the noodles better and also, you’ll need some of the reserved pasta water. Mix the noodles in the sauce until well coated. You’ll want to add about anywhere from 2-4 T of reserved pasta water to the sauce to thin out the sauce. The longer the sauce sits, it will thicken and become a little sticky. I like to stir the noodles, then add more pasta water if needed.
Top with freshly chopped parsley and serve immediately.