I know everyone is looking at the pictures and thinking: “But that’s… not orecchiette.” I know. As often happens to me during this time, the exact products that are on my list are not on the shelves at the grocery store, and today it happened to be that instead of orecchiette, the pasta that was in stock at Trader Joe’s was conchiglie. So that’s what’s in the photos. However, the conchiglie was still tasty, but weirdly fell apart, and when I made this earlier this month, I used orecchiette and I prefer it with orecchiette, so that’s what I’m keeping in the name. Also, it’s called lemon cream orecchiette, but once you make the roux with butter and flour, it thickens nicely using just regular milk or soymilk, without having to add heavy cream. So maybe I should think of a different name, but I couldn’t really think of anything better, so here we are.
Anyway, conchiglie or orecchiette, the taste is still the same, and it’s delicious! Spring has definitely sprung here in California. In fact, it seems like we went from rain to spring then straight to summer heat in the span of a week, so here we are. I’ve been trying to add more spring flavors to the meals I cook, and everyone loves asparagus in the spring, but I don’t like asparagus, so I settled for peas, mushrooms, and corn, with a side of broccolini for this dinner. Lemon has a nice spring flavor, and when I finished cooking my mom commented that it smelled like a restaurant in our kitchen, so I must have done something right! Anyway, here’s the recipe:
Lemon Cream Orecchiette
Makes 6 large-ish servings (or 8 smaller-ish ones)
12 oz orecchiette pasta (or your pasta of choice)
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
½ cup onion, diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
4 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen peas
One 10 oz package of Gardein meatless chick’n strips
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp butter
1 ½ cups plain soymilk (or use whole milk, low fat milk might also work)
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese, for garnishing
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain, and set aside.
In a saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and mushrooms and cook until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms start to release their juices, about 5 minutes.
Add the corn, peas, and chick’n strips to the pan and cook until heated through, another 5-10 minutes. Remove the veggies and chick’n from the pan and set aside.
In the saucepan (or you can do this simultaneously in a different saucepan while you cook the veggies if you have more multitasking skill/more stove burners than I do), melt the butter over medium-low heat, then stir in the flour to create a roux. Pour in the milk and simmer over medium heat until the sauce thickens, about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the lemon zest and juice once the sauce has thickened, season with salt and pepper to taste, and stir to combine. Add the pasta, veggies, and chick’n and stir to coat evenly with the sauce.
Garnish with Parmesan cheese.