Tangy yoghurt and frozen peas come together in this lightened up quick and easy one-pot creamy pasta dish.
Every once in a while, maybe once a year or so, I subject myself to a flurry of activity intended to move this blog forwards. I did this recently. I joined a couple of new groups on Facebook, learned some new sites where I could submit my posts, and, mere moments after telling someone that four posts a week was absolutely the most I could handle, I bumped (for a brief time) up to six posts a week. And then the inevitable and predictable burnout happened, and last week I missed a post. Two, actually.
When I was in New York recently, I had a wonderful lunch with Gena from Choosing Raw, and we discussed, among other things, this blogging business. Gena pointed out how much easier blogging had been when she was a student, in some ways, because she always knew where her priority was. This has stuck with me since, and I know that she’s right.
When I was doing my MSc work, I would post twice a week on a good week. When I graduated, I began posting four times a week: two recipes, one nutrition post, and WGATW on Fridays. That’s a lot of content, but it’s been mostly manageable. And then I thought I’d start adding snack ideas each week, which are fun and are quick and easy posts, and I also decided to bring back an old post from the archives once a week, which bumped me up to six posts per week.
This work, plus my office job, plus my business, means that more often than not I’m on my computer from around 6am – 10pm. It means that my weekends are spent testing and photographing recipes, because in order to keep up this pace I need to photograph at least two successful recipes per weekend. And it means that I end up cooking for the blog instead of cooking for pleasure.
Remember back in January when I said I was striving for better work-life-blog-business balance? Riiiiight. That.
So, over the last couple of weeks I’ve taken a bit of a step back. I’ve kept the computer closed once I get home for the evening. I’ve cooked things I want to eat, and haven’t taken any pictures. We looked after our favourite dog this weekend past, and instead of spending long hours in the kitchen then long hours on the computer, I spent long hours walking and playing in the March snow.
And during this time, I’ve also been thinking about you, dear readers, and wondering how much content you *actually* want from me each week. To be honest when I go to my Feedly and see a dozen unread posts from a particular blog, I tend to feel overwhelmed and skip it over. When I see a fresh post from someone who doesn’t post as often, I go right for it, excited to see what that blogger is up to. Particularly for those of you who are email subscribers, do you really want to hear from me six times a week? Is four posts per week too much or too little? I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way, so, is less more when it comes to reading blogs?
In the spirit of simplicity, I offer you this pasta. It’s quick and easy, it’s light, and it’s delicious. It all comes together in one pot, and can be on the table in under 30 minutes, including the time it takes to boil the water, which is perfect for a weeknight dinner. Tangy yoghurt replaces traditional cream and cheese, creating a creamy sauce deep in flavour but with all of the lightness I tend to seek in the spring. Frozen peas defrost in the pot, and, together with a good amount of parsley, make this dish bright and fresh. Whole wheat pasta shells create perfect bites, and bring a bit more nutrition to the table compared to regular white pasts. This dish is every bit as comforting as it is light, which makes it perfect for the chilly transition into spring. I really hope you’ll give it a try.
Frozen peas are low in fat, high in dietary fiber, and are a good source of protein , manganese, folate, vitamin B1, potassium, and phosphorous. The high fiber content in dried peas is thought to be helpful in lowering cholesterol and stabilizing blood sugar levels.
Whole wheat pasta, made from flour with the bran and germ intact, is a significantly better source of fiber and nutrients than the regular wheat version. Bear in mind that pasta portions, particularly in restaurants, are often waaaaaaay larger than they should be. Aim for around a 1 cup serving of cooked whole wheat pasta.
one-pot creamy pasta with yoghurt and peas
- 450 g whole wheat pasta shells
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 1 cup full fat plain yoghurt
- 1 1/2 cups frozen peas
- 1/2 cup finely minced parsley
- salt and pepper
- Put a large pot of water over high heat and bring to a boil.
- Salt the water generously, and then add the pasta shells. Cook for 8-12 minutes, or according to package directions, until the pasta is just al dente.
- Scoop a large cup of the pasta water out of the pot, and set it aside.
- Turn the stove to low, drain the pasta, and then set the same pot back on the still-warm burner.
- Add the olive oil and garlic to the pot and stir for a moment to combine. Now add the frozen peas, and sauté for 1-2 minutes to take off the chill.
- Add the yoghurt, pasta, and parsley, and stir to combine well.
- If the yoghurt sauce is too thick, add some pasta water, 1 Tbsp at a time, until the sauce has reached the desired consistency.
- Season with salt and pepper, remove from the heat, and serve immediately.
Since the yoghurt is intended to replace a cream sauce, I tend to choose a full fat yoghurt in this recipe. My preference is for creamy Turkish style yoghurt, and the one I use is 10% fat. A leaner yoghurt would also work, but bear in mind the lighter you go the less creamy your pasta will be.