One of my favorite things to do is find a fabulous recipe, in this case by Ina Garten, and add my own little “healthified” twist to it. I love a good pasta dish, and I promise you this one is going to be your “go to” for you and your family.

I know that it’s Easter and Spring, but there’s a part of me that still wants to hibernate like it’s Christmas and Winter. Well, this dish is the perfect mix of the warmth of a good pasta and the freshness of vegetables. The lemon, creamy sauce ties it all together seamlessly.

Oh! And it’s totally interchangeable! You can choose any shape pasta (as long as it holds a sauce well, so like rotini, linguine, and the like) and a wide variety of vegetables, like asparagus and peas. I’ve added grilled chicken to it (I cook the chicken beforehand and toss it with the pasta and sauce for 3 minutes before adding the vegetables) too. Trying to cut down on carbs like pasta? Try swapping the pasta out with cauliflower! The sky is the limit!

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Lemon Fusilli with Arugula (adapted from Ina Garten)

1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic (2 cloves)
2 cups of 2% milk
2 lemons
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch broccoli
1 pound dried fusilli pasta
1/2 pound baby arugula (or 2 bunches of common arugula, leaves cut in thirds)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the garlic, and cook for 60 seconds. Add the cream, the zest from 2 lemons, the juice of 2 lemons, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until it starts to thicken.

Meanwhile, cut the broccoli in florets and discard the stem. Steams the florets over a pot of water for 3 to 5 minutes, until tender but still firm. Remove the broccoli and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside.

(If you are going to substitute the pasta for cauliflower, do the same steps as you did for the broccoli, and steam them together).

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 1 tablespoon of salt and the pasta, and cook according to the directions on the package, about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain the pasta in a colander and place it back into the pot. Immediately add the cream mixture and cook it over medium-low heat for 3 minutes, until most of the sauce has been absorbed in the pasta. Pour the hot pasta into a large bowl, add the arugula, Parmesan, tomatoes, and cooked broccoli.
Toss well, season to taste, and serve hot.

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