Green garlic cream pasta.

Though the title may read in such a way as to convey the use of green (i.e. immature) garlic, that’s not the case here. Instead, what I meant to say was that the dish itself is green, thanks to the use of spinach and peas. The spinach, especially if you’re using frozen like I did, will color the cream in the recipe slightly when cooking and create this pretty green sauce that will be left in the bowl and beg to be mopped up with crusty bread.

Then again, I wholeheartedly believe in the double-starch rule when pastas are served. It just isn’t the same without some crusty-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside bread.

Now, the recipe listed calls for whole wheat pasta and half-and-half, because I would ideally like to make it healthy while tasty. As the pictures show, however, I used regular enriched penne, and I will tell you that I used heavy (double) cream. The recipe is forgiving, and it was doubly tasty with added fat the heavy cream and enriched pasta gave me.

Oh, and before I go any further: Please forgive my poor color photo quality. My kitchen sucks when it comes to lighting.

Green Garlic Cream Pasta

original recipe

cooking time: 20-35 minutes (with proper prep)


1 c whole wheat penne, dry
1 pkg frozen whole leaf spinach, thawed and thoroughly drained
1 c frozen peas, thawed and drained
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1/2 c half and half or single cream
1 tbsp olive oil
grated Parmesan (opt)


Cook spinach and peas according to package directions and drain. Cook penne until just al dente, then drain and rinse with cold water. Mince garlic and sauté over medium-high heat in olive oil.

Add drained spinach and peas. Reduce heat to medium or medium-low, add 1/4 cup of cream and let simmer for 1-2 minutes.

Add pasta and remaining cream.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and let rest for 2-3 minutes, then serve topped with Parmesan.

Makes 4 servings.

I threw all this together on a whim last night when I realized I had no prepared lunch for today (necessity is the father of invention?). I have no meat in the house at the moment, but I had greens that needed using so I figured it couldn’t hurt to get a little extra veg in my diet.

Normally I would use more cream without a second thought, but I think the half cup here is just enough. It doesn’t overwhelm the green with creaminess, and the clove of garlic is just enough to flavor the dish without making it supremely garlicky (although if you like more garlic, throw some more in there). It was perfect to reheat at lunch today, and very filling.

In hindsight, I might add dried herbs to the simmer next time – thyme or rosemary or somesuch, and maybe a little lemon juice. I feel like there’s a flavor element the dish is missing to make it absolutely perfect. I just haven’t figured out what it is yet. If I do, I’ll tell you. If you figure it out before me, let me know, please. I’m dying to know what it is.

Fettucine alla carbonara.

Does anybody actually say it like that? I mean, besides chefs and Italians? ‘Cause to be honest, my carbonara is more like… carbonara e verdure. I say that because I recently decided I liked adding vegetables to my pastas, especially when it comes to cream sauces. Verily, since I don’t really eat tomato-based sauces in the first place, although there are exceptions (creamy tomato sauce? I’m looking for a good recipe candidate to fill the role).

I’ve discovered that peas tend to be my favorite veggie ‘additive,’ though you could throw almost anything in with carbonara. I would use corn (maybe roasted), grilled asparagus or roasted cauliflower. I really think that the flavor that roasting brings out in veggies would complement this recipe quite well (because of the bacon). I definitely want to try some roasted cauliflower next time, get a nice color scheme going on.

The only real problem I had with the recipe was user error. I think I heated the cream a little too long (and using single cream may have had its own effect) and subsequently came out with mildly clumpy sauce when it was all said and done. I’m honestly not sure if it was heating the cream too much, or if it was tempering the egg before adding it wholly to the cream that caused that. Nonetheless, I was highly pleased with it. I’ll be making it again, that’s for sure.

And just as a sidenote, probably an unnecessary one: if you’re going to roast your veggie, or grill it, whatever, you’ll probably want to cook it first so you can have it ready when you’re throwing it all together.

(Recipe under the cut.)

Fettucine alla Carbonara e Verdure

adapted from Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.

cooking time: 20-25 minutes


6 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
6 ounces whole wheat fettuccine or linguine
1 egg, beaten
1 cup half-and-half (I used light cream and 1% milk)
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
1 cup of your favorite vegetable (I used frozen peas)
Coarsely ground black pepper
Dried or fresh herbs


Cook bacon until crisp and drain on paper towels. Cook vegetable and pasta according to package directions, drain and keep warm. Meanwhile, for sauce, in a saucepan combine egg, half-and-half, and butter. (NOTE: If you want, temper the egg and add it last!) Cook and stir over medium heat until egg mixture just coats a metal spoon. DO NOT BOIL. Pour sauce over pasta; stir gently to coat and add Parmesan, pepper to taste and add herbs if you wish.

Serves 4-6.

I also have this posted on SparkRecipes, here, which includes the nutritional info (roundabout) for the recipe with peas.