Monday, February 8, 2010

Giada's Pastina with Peas and Carrots

I happened to be flipping channels one day and stumbled across Giada De Laurentiis making a kidcentric meal.  So, although she's not my favorite Food Network personality, I stopped to watch.  After all, I have a kid, I like to cook, and figured it would probably be a pretty simple recipe.  The fact that the ingredients are three of Price's favorite foods didn't hurt.

From Giada at Home, my adaptations/substitutions/reviews are in italics


  • 1/2 pound (8 ounces) pastina or other small-shaped pasta, such as farfallini (guess what, the Commissary doesn't have teeny, tiny pasta, so I just used regular sized bow ties)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 cup frozen petite peas, thawed (I just used regular peas too)
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) mascarpone cheese, at room temperature (another thing I couldn't find, so I googled and found I could use sour cream)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally until soft, about 7 minutes. Add the carrots and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add the peas to the pan and cook for 2 minutes until the peas are warmed through and the carrots are tender. Stir in the cooked pasta. Remove the pan from the heat and add the cheeses. Stir until the mixture is incorporated and forms a sauce. Season with salt, to taste. Transfer to a large serving bowl and garnish with chopped basil.

Overall, this recipe was just ok.  It took longer than I thought (because of poor planning and execution on my part- tried to make on a Sunday evening after returning from demoralizing trip to Commissary and with an impatient, cranky kiddo as my sous chef).  It really needs mascarpone cheese rather than sour cream, it was just kind of bland.  I also added some cooked chicken to the finished product, and neither hurt nor helped the taste.  This dish was actually better the second day for lunch.  I may make it again if I have the mascarpone cheese.


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