(Weight Watchers friendly crock pot cooking, Day #2)
Here’s a first for me: Slow Cooker Pasta Primavera.
I’ve never made pasta primavera before, let alone in the slow cooker.
It turned out pretty darn good, if I do say so myself.
This slow cooker pasta primavera is the first recipe I’ve tried from a book I recently borrowed from the library.
How’s that for a provocative cookbook title?
The recipe calls for frozen vegetables, which is a real time saver. I used a California blend of broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. But I would say use any vegetable blend that looks good to you. The book says to cook the pasta to nearly done, before draining it and adding it to the slow cooker.
I used half penne and half fusilli, since that’s what was in the pantry. But, I feel like I cooked it a little too long. Next time I will cook it for half the time suggested on the package and then drain it.
The book doesn’t tell you what size slow cooker to use. I used the 2 quart crock from my Hamilton Beach 3-in-1 Slow Cooker because I thought a 4 quart would be too big. Since my cooker seems to cook a little hot, I figured it would be better to overfill the 2 quart a little, rather than under-fill a 4 quart. I think a 3 quart would be about perfect. And a 4 quart fine too, as long as you keep an eye on it.
This slow cooker pasta primavera cooks on LOW for 3 to 4 hours. Because it includes pasta that can easily get mushy, I wouldn’t suggest you make this on a day where you can’t be there to tend it and turn it off when it’s done.
I used reduced fat evaporated milk and reduced fat cheese to lighten things up a bit. According to my calculations, each generous 1-1/2 cup serving has 385 calories and *9 Weight Watchers PointsPlus.
Rod and I both liked this light and creamy slow cooker pasta primavera. The garlic flavor really came through. I definitely plan on making this again.
- 3 cups uncooked fusilli pasta (I used a combination of penne and fusilli)
- 2 cups frozen brocccoli, cauliflower and carrots
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 teaspoon crushed garlic from the jar (or 1 clove, minced)
- 1 can (12 ounces) reduced fat evaporated milk (2%)
- ½ cup milk
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup reduced fat shredded cheese (I used an Italian cheese blend mozzarella, parmesan, asiago, etc.)
- 2 teaspoons butter, cut into little bits
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions for about half the suggested cooking time and drain.
- Meanwhile, combine the broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, peas, red pepper and garlic in the slow cooker. (I used the 2 quart crock from my 3 in 1 crockpot because I thought a 4 quart would be too big. I think a 3 quart would be about perfect.)
- In a bowl, combine the evaporated milk, milk, cornstarch, salt and cheese.
- Trasfer the pasta to the slow cooker, stir in the milk mixture and dollop with the bits of butter.
- Cook on low for 3 to 4 hours, until the pasta and vegetables are tender.
Ideas for making this slow cooker pasta primavera even lighter and/or healthier:
- Use whole wheat pasta instead of regular to increase the fiber.
- Substitute fat free evaporated milk for the 2% which will decrease fat and calories, but may make the dish less creamy.
- Use less cheese. Try decreasing the amount of cheese to 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup.
- Eat less. Decrease your portion to 1 cup for *6 Points Plus. Bulk up your meal with a nice big green salad, which is what I almost always do when I eat pasta.
If you liked this Slow Cooker Pasta Primavera recipe, you might also like:
*PointsPlus® calculated by Simple Nourished Living; Not endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc.