As much as I'm a champion of the slow cooker at this time of year, I'm also a big fan of a simple pasta dish that takes fifteen minutes to whip together, and this is just that. Oooh, and it's yummy.
I was inspired by a recipe I found recently, and it absolutely paid off. I would never have thought to team lemon and cream cheese, but it works like a dream. I think the trick is not to overdo the lemon - I had a whole lemon ready to go, zest and juice, but opted to put in half and then test the dish and that was the PERFECT amount. I think the whole lot would have overpowered it and taken the lemon taste from 'delightfully subtle' to 'washing up liquid' which you NEVER want.
We used fresh basil in this, but I think it would be pretty epic with fresh coriander, too. I also think a softer goat's cheese would work, but I liked the hard cheese. The cubes half-melted in the sauce, meaning that every so often I'd get a hit of it in a mouthful - mmm. It would also work with chicken, but I think it's good to eat vegetarian when you can - and the cheese will meet your protein quota.
It works out at 9 Weight Watchers propoints a portion, so diet-friendly too (even with all that cheese!).
Creamy lemony summer pasta
140g Philadelphia Light (I used half a big pot, or a whole regular pot is fine)
100g hard goat's cheese
Splash of milk (about 75ml)
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 red onion, chopped
6 mushrooms, chopped
Handful of fresh basil, shredded (about 10 leaves)
Juice of half a lemon
Zest of half a lemon
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 servings / 9 WW propoints
1. Boil your pasta as per your package instructions.
2. In a nonstick frying pan or wok, cook your onions, mushrooms and garlic (if they stick, add a small splash of water).
3. When softened, add the Philadelphia and a splash of milk to make a creamy sauce.
4. Then, add the lemon zest and juice and allow to cook together for a few minutes for the flavours to combine.
5. Chop your goat's cheese in two and grate half of it into the sauce, and stir to combine.
6. Cut the other half of the goat's cheese into small cubes and stir through.
7. Add the basil, then try the sauce and add salt and pepper if needed.
8. Throw in the pasta (cooked and drained, obvs), stir to cover the lot in sauce and dish up with a sprinkling of fresh basil on top.
Matt's verdict was 'That was really nice! Weird, but nice.' Lemon worked unexpectedly well, and went beautifully with the goat's cheese and creamy sauce. I haven't tried freezing it, but the leftovers were still really good reheated a couple of days later. If you've got lemons languishing in the bottom of your fridge, this is definitely one to store in your back pocket.