Shells & Peas Alfredo

Growing up in a very Italian family, my main food groups were pasta, cheese, and butter.  And what better dish than fettuccine alfredo is there to use all three?  This was one of my favorite Italian dishes, but my father used to always make it with shell pasta & peas, instead of the traditional fettuccine.  I decided to create a vegan & gluten free version of this dish, since I have been craving it non stop lately, and since it’s so delicious, I can’t help but share it with all of you!  This recipe really can’t get any easier, and only takes about 15 minutes from start to finish.  Lets get started!

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Let’s talk ingredients.  You won’t need that many, and there is very little prep work needed for this recipe.  All you will need is some shell shaped pasta (although any shape you’d like will work, & we used the brand ‘Andean Dream’), frozen peas, regular unsweetened almond milk, vegan butter, vegan parmesan cheese (You can make your own, or purchase your favorite brand.  We used the brand ‘Go Veggie’), gluten free flour, pink himalayan salt, black pepper, nutmeg, and garlic (optional).  Start by cooking your pasta in salted water according to the package instructions.  The sauce is very quick to make so it can be made while the pasta is cooking.

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Alfredo sauce is traditionally made with heavy cream, which would naturally thicken everything, but since we are using almond milk, we are going to create a roux to help thicken the sauce instead.  Melt your butter over a medium – low heat until it starts to bubble around the edges.  Then add in your flour, and whisk to combine.  Continue whisking until the flour becomes fragrant, and then whisk in your milk.  Bring the milk to a simmer, and then add in your parmesan cheese.  Whisk to combine, and add more milk if necessary to thin out the sauce a bit.  You want the sauce to be thick enough to stick to the noodles, but it shouldn’t be like a macaroni and cheese sauce kind of thick.  Cook this mixture for about 5-10 minutes over a low flame before adding your spices.

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As far as your seasonings go, you can really add whatever you prefer.  Rosemary would be delicious here, as well as oregano, thyme, basil… basically any fresh herb.  You can also make it cajun by adding some creole seasoning, or can kick up the heat with a little crushed red pepper.  I like to add pink himalayan salt, black pepper (and lots of it), and nutmeg.  The nutmeg gives a very subtle warmth and helps to enhance the richness of the dish.  Mix your spices in with the sauce, and then if you also want to add garlic, mice a few cloves and stir in right before serving.  I really like adding the garlic right before you serve, because I like it to still almost be raw, so you get that really strong garlic flavor.  I also add in my frozen peas now so they have a chance to defrost and cook through.  You can also add any vegetables you like; mushrooms, spinach, bell peppers, zucchini, asparagus, tomatoes, etc.  Cook until the sauce has heated through and thickened enough to stick to the pasta.  By now your pasta should be done cooking, so drain it and immediately transfer it into the dish with your sauce.  Stir to combine, and transfer into your serving bowls.  I like to top the pasta with a little extra black pepper, and some finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley.  We hope you all enjoy this recipe!  As always, please let us know what you think, and tag us in any recreation photos!

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound shell pasta (we used Andean Dream)
  • 1 cup vegan parmesan cheese (we used Go Veggie!)
  • 6 tbs vegan butter
  • 1/2-1 cup regular unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 1/2 tbs gluten free flour
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2-3 tbs black pepper
  • 1 tbs pink himalayan salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cook your pasta in salted water according to the package instructions.  Make your sauce while the pasta cooks.
  2. In a deep pan or pot, melt your butter over a medium heat until it begins to bubble at the sides.  Add your flour and whisk until fragrant.  Whisk in 1/2 cup milk to start and allow to cook for 5 minutes until it comes to a simmer.
  3. Add in your cheese and whisk to combine.  Add more milk if needed to thin out the sauce.  You want it to be just thick enough to stick to the noodles, but definitely shouldn’t be very thick.
  4. Add in your salt, pepper, nutmeg, and peas.  Cook until the sauce is heated through and the peas are cooked.
  5. Drain your pasta.  Right before you transfer the pasta to the pot with the sauce, add in your minced garlic and stir.  Add in your pasta and toss to combine.
  6. Transfer to serving bowls and top with freshly cracked black pepper & fresh flat leaf parsley.
  7. Serve & Enjoy!

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