Food Network’s sweetheart Giada De Laurentiis is a favorite in my Italian family. She’s just so darn cute and she makes really delicious meals filled with wholesome ingredients that aren’t overly complicated. Sure, some of the pasta dishes can be heavy, but sometimes you have to exercise some portion control or just leave the guilt at the door. Knowwhati’msayin’?
Tonight I made her Creamy Farfalle with Cremini, Asparagus, and Walnuts and it was even more delicious than I imagined. The mushrooms were earthy, the asparagus crisp, and the creamy sauce was rich, delicious, and perfect for an early-Autumn evening. I paired this with a quick salad of mixed greens, canned artichoke hearts and a handful of dried cranberries, and topped it off with a glug of Herbes de Provence dressing (the dressing was not so great but not bad enough to waste). A nice Chianti (slurp slurp slurp) rounded out the meal though a dry champagne would also be a crisp pairing. This meal made a regular visit to the parent’s house special without any fanfare or heavy planning.
This recipe was a huge hit and also serves as a great base recipe for lots of personalization. I honestly felt like some of the pasta wouldn’t be missed in this dish, so I would reduce the pasta to 3/4 or even 1/2 lb instead of 1 lb the next time I make this (reduce cream cheese accordingly too) to really let all the veggies shine. When reheating the leftovers, add a splash of chicken broth to each portion so things don’t dry out.
Tip: When checking out recipes online, be sure to read through the reviews that follow the recipe rather than just relying on the general rating. Reviews often have super helpful hints and substitutions that can make an OK recipe into something spectacular. This practice is especially useful if you use an online recipe database like allrecipes.com which allows you to sort reviews rated “most helpful” instead of making you dig through a ton of unhelpful ones to find the gems.