I actually don't cook much pasta (of the non-homemade variety), I forget about it as I'm lost in the rice and grain bulk bins at the Outpost. But sometimes, I just get a craving for noodles. I've been waiting for just the perfect thing to test run this gratis box, and resurrected one of my past stand-by favorites - though dramatically lightened - Scallops with Red Bell Pepper Cream Sauce. Not only is my recipe enlightened, the Dreamfields pasta is actually in the healthier spectrum of the packaged pasta world. It's rather short ingredient list contained nothing I couldn't pronounce, and according to the information I received in the box, is safe for many diabetics to consume due to its unique composition.
As it states: "Dreamfields' patent-pending recipe and manufacturing process protects all but 5 grams of the carbohydrates per serving from being digested and therefore lessens post-meal blood glucose rise as compared to regular pasta. Dreamfields contains inulin; a 100% natural prebiotic fiber found in common foods such as Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes), asparagus, garlic, raisins and chicory root."
I know some people read "cream" in a recipe and think nothing of it, but usually "cream" in a non-dessert format conjures up immediate lightening techniques to me. I've made this recipe in all of it's full-fat glory, and it is wonderful, but for an ordinary Friday night dinner at home it begged for tinkering. My favorite stand in for cream? Evaporated milk. Tinkering it received:
You may wish to make the original and splendid recipe, which is in two parts: The Sauce and The Scallops. Otherwise read on, healthy reader! You may also wish to use evaporated skim milk, rendering this even skinier, but I opt for plain evaporated milk which is certainly richer. Also, depending on the amount of milk added, you could omit the flour for thickening purposes. I'm wagering mine could have done without it, but it was still a good exercise in sauce making.
The red pepper mixture, prior to sauce-dom.
Red Bell Pepper Cream Sauce - adapted from Bon Appetit
- 3 roasted red peppers (I roast mine and freeze them, you can use jarred, or roast them yourself, click the above link for the Conde Nast method)
- 1/2 c. pecans, toasted
- 1/2 c. grated Parmesan-Reggiano
- 1-2 cloves chopped garlic (optional, since I forgot it tonight!)
- 2 T. olive oil
- 1 1/2 T. flour
- 1 c. evaporated milk
In a food pro, process roasted red peppers, toasted nuts, Parmesan, garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Add a bit of olive oil if it seems too dry, and process until uniformly chopped. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add the 2 T. of olive oil. When oil is hot, whisk in flour and continue whisking for about a minute. Slowly add evaporated milk while continuing to whisk - and don't fear if you have noticeable lumps as they will disappear when you add the red pepper mixture. Add the red pepper mixture, and continue to cook until the sauce is thickened - this happens fairly quickly. You can also add a bit more evaporated milk to thin if desired.
I used only about half of this sauce to coat 6 oz (prior to cooking) of angel hair pasta. I froze the rest for a quick dinner in the future. If making the scallops with this, go ahead and make the sauce, then remove from the heat and cover while you cook the scallops.
Seared Scallops (for the Red Pepper Cream Sauce) - adapted from Bon Appetit
- 2T. (approximately) olive oil - I eyeballed it
- 2-3 T. vermouth or white wine - again eyeballed
- 1 t. garlic granules
- 1 1/2 t. dried oregano
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/2 t. paprika
- 1/2 t. chili powder
- 1 t. aleppo pepper
- ground black pepper
- 1 lb. sea scallops
Whisk all ingredients except scallops in a medium bowl. Add scallops and stir. I let them marinate less than an hour - but the original recipe said at least 3 hours or overnight is fine. (I have read that scallops should never be marinated in anything longer than 5 minutes due to their high water content, but didn't see much problem having marinated them prior to prepping everything else. Do as you wish!)
Heat a heavy skillet to medium-high, and remove scallops from marinade. Add them to the skillet, being sure not to crowd them (mine took two batches), and cook 3 minutes per side until just opaque in the center. (I poke their bellies to see if they feel done...) Serve with the pasta and a salad and a piece of Lahey bread, and bask in your Friday night supper.
It seems like a while since we had a proper dinner here and I'm not sure why. We have been eating a bit lighter, and not as complicated as of late. I'm really not suggesting that this is a complicated meal, since it isn't except for the dishwashing involved. I am thankful for the oportunity to try the Dreamfields pasta, and think it did have a nice texture and taste. It also came with another good recipe on the box: one for Angel Hair with Shrimp, Tomatoes and Basil. I think I'll cut it out to save for summer...or maybe splurge on some fresh (though not local) basil to try it before then since it currently seems too far off to imagine. I suppose that is just the drain of February, when the days are just slightly seeming longer and the visions of summer herb gardens just start to creep into my thoughts once again. Unfortunately, like all of time, I know it will be here before I know it.