One night I threw together some ingredients to fill what was my first attempt at a chicken roulade. Upon finishing that particular failed pursuit, I had a bunch of leftover creamy filling and uncertainty as to how to use it. For obvious reasons, I ended up deciding to toss it with some pasta, and my palate became coated with serendipity. I couldn’t stop eating the stuff, not that I’ve ever had exceptional restraint in the presence of any short pasta. Since that first bite, I have always called this dish “bomb.com pasta”. I have since made it at least a couple dozen times, and while I have yet to replicate the perfection of that first batch, I’ve gotten as close as I can. I’m a true lover of poor, overlooked fresh parsley, so I also created this sauce to give the lemony, peppery, slightly tangy herb a moment to shine for once. It’s like a bite of spring and summer. You could use “squeeze parsley” for the sauce, but since fresh parsley is the featured flavor, I wouldn’t recommend that product for this.
The most crucial ingredient in this dish is the hot water in which the pasta was cooked (pasta water). I cannot stress this enough. Initially after mixing, the sauce will be pretty thick. If you tossed it with the pasta as-is, the pasta would get dry and goopy in seconds. A few little splashes of pasta water will keep the sauce loose and creamy and so much more satisfying. It’s also very important to undercook the pasta just a bit. It should still be a bit chewy, since it’s going to continue absorbing liquid and cooking as it combines with the sauce.
1 lb whole wheat fusilli, gemelli, rigatoni, or penne
¾ c plain yogurt- Greek or regular will work
⅔ c shredded low fat white cheddar
⅓ c nutritional yeast
3 T grated Parmesan
¾ tsp lemon juice
5 dashes Worcestershire or soy sauce
1 clove Fresh garlic, finely grated or minced
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
⅔ C finely chopped Fresh parsley, plus extra for garnish
Boil very generously salted water in a medium pot. Meanwhile, stir together all sauce ingredients, except parsley, in a large mixing bowl.
Cook pasta just until very al dente, or chewy and under-cooked. About two minutes before pasta is done cooking, ladle ¾ cup hot pasta water into a small pitcher or measuring cup.
Add 2 tablespoons hot pasta water to the sauce and stir to combine. Strain pasta andimmediately add it into the bowl of sauce. Stir the sauce continuously for two minutes, adding 2 tablespoons at a time of pasta water if the sauce gets too thick or dry. Lastly, add parsley and stir once more to combine and check sauce consistency. Serve with chopped parsley.
Before storing in the refrigerator, add another splash of pasta water to prevent clumping.
There are so many other things that can be added to this pasta: a dollop of pesto, chopped chives, fresh basil, toasted pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, goat cheese, chunks of feta, or even chopped olives. In colder months, chopped rosemary or sage in place of parsley would be delicious. Be sure to use those much more sparingly since they are quite a big stronger than most other herbs.
It’s so easy to stir this sauce together ahead of time and store it in the fridge until you’re ready for it. At only 300-400 calories depending on serving size, you can have lunch, dinner, or a side dish ready in less than 15 minutes!