Frugal Recipe: Creamy Fusilli w/ Zucchini & Peppers

Contributed By Marissa Bognanno, Author of The Boot Blog

It was Saturday morning and I woke up with one thing, and one thing only, on my mind. What am I going to make for lunch?It’s a common question around these parts and you’ll even hear it come up quite frequently in everyday conversation. I wanted something comforting and creamy but not heavy. I scouted out my fruit and vegetable guy’s stand, took a jaunt to our local supermarket, chatted with the lady at the dollar store, until finally the idea came to me. 

Creamy without the cream. 

Veggie-packed pastas are my favorite, and this one even has a healthy dose of protein, thanks to the greek yogurt, which gives it the loveliest of creamy consistencies. Any time you’re craving a heavy cream-without-the-cream dish, use this greek yogurt trick. Since not everyone loves the tang yogurt has, add something to balance it out, like lemon zest which I use in this recipe, or fresh herbs or rich spices like cumin or curry.

Creamy Fusilli with Zucchini and Peppers

(serves 3)

1 zucchini
1 yellow pepper
1 tbs olive oil
1 garlic clove
small pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 pound fusilli
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1 tsp lemon zest
generous sprinkling grated cheese (I used Pecorino)

Slice the zucchini and pepper into thin strips. Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium high heat, add the garlic clove whole and the pinch of red pepper flakes. Let it sizzle for two minutes, then take out the clove. Add the zucchini and pepper strips and toss well. Add the salt and cook covered on medium low until the vegetables are tender/soft, about 10 minutes. In the meantime, cook the pasta according to package directions for al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Add the yogurt and zest to the vegetables, lowering the heat to a simmer, and mix well. Add the cooking liquid until it becomes the consistency you prefer. Add the pasta and toss. Serve with a generous sprinkling of grated cheese. 

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