Creamy, herb-flavoured pesto made without any oil or cream.
I have a weakness for carbs. I love bread, pasta, rice – all that delicious carby goodness. I also love pesto! It’s like a perfect little bite of Italy. The amazing combination of fresh basil and garlic leaves me yearning for pesto every time I see it on a restaurant menu. I often resist the urge to order it because pesto is usually loaded with oil. The first bite is yum, the second bite is good, but by the third, fourth, or fifth bite, I feel like my mouth is swimming in olive oil. Yuck!
Light Creamy Penne Pesto is packed full of fresh basil and garlic, but without any oily aftertaste. It’s practically oil-free. Instead of oil, there’s a combination of avocado, cottage cheese, and vegetable broth. Together they give this pesto a rich, creamy flavour. The creaminess of this pesto is kicked up another notch when it’s combined with a simple white sauce, consisting of sautéed mushrooms and shallots as well as milk, parsley, and flour.
For a creamy pesto, this is amazingly guilt-free. Have a big bowl of pasta tonight. You deserve it!
Light Creamy Penne Pesto
There’s no reason to shy away from this pesto pasta. It’s creamy, delicious, and full of flavour – it’s only light on fat. This is one of my favourite ways to make pasta and it’s a real party pleaser.
- 1 package penne pasta
- 2 cups basil leaves, fresh
- 3 cloves garlic, quartered
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 avocado
- 1/2 cup fat free cottage cheese
- 2 tablespoons vegetable broth
- 1 pinch salt and pepper
- 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/2 teaspoon parsley, dried
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- In a food processor, blend basil, pine nuts, garlic, avocado, and lemon juice until finely chopped.
- Add ricotta and season with salt and pepper. Process until well combined.
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add shallots and cook for 3 minutes, until shallots start to soften. Add mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes.
- Whisk in flour and parsley, cook for 1 minute. Slowly add in milk, bring to a simmer, and reduce heat to low. Continue whisking until sauce thickens.
- Slowly stir in the sauce until heated through. Add cooked pasta. Toss to cover.
- Plate and enjoy!
Note: For a more traditional tasting pesto, add 1/2 cup of toasted pine nuts to the pesto before blending.
If you love pasta, you may also enjoy Creamy Avocado Pasta
Are you a carby pesto lover? What do you think of this lighter version? What’s your favourite type of pesto pasta?