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Springtime pasta

Agriculture.com Staff 05/23/2011 @ 12:23pm

Warmer weather is finally here, which means it's time to revive those salad recipes that have been tucked away all winter. Many salads include pasta as an ingredient, and that can make your favorite pasta dishes tip the scale at over 600 calories.

With fewer than 400 calories, the Springtime Pasta recipe below combines herbed cheese and a little pasta water to make an easy, creamy sauce for a lighter-style pasta dish. This recipe may end up being one you'll want to use year-round.

Prep: 15 minutes; Cook: 15 minutes

1 pound cavatappi or other corkscrew-shape pasta
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1-1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut in 1-inch pieces
1 yellow sweet pepper, cut into thin strips
1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut in 2-inch pieces
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 package (5.2 ounces) spreadable herb cheese (like Boursin)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and return to a boil. Cook for 6 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and tilt skillet to coat. Add chicken. Cook for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. During the last minute of cooking, add yellow pepper to the skillet. Remove from heat.

3. Once pasta has cooked for 6 minutes, add asparagus and cook 2 minutes longer or until pasta is tender. Carefully scoop out ¼ cup pasta water, then drain.

4. In large bowl, toss together hot pasta mixture, chicken mixture, tomatoes, herbed cheese, reserved pasta water, salt, and black pepper until well blended and cheese is melted. Makes 8 servings.

Nutrition facts per serving: 395 calories, 10 g total fat (5 g saturated fat), 74 mg cholesterol, 248 mg sodium, 47 g carbohydrates, 3 g dietary fiber, 30 g protein.

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