Fettuccine in a lemon cream sauce

Fettucini in a lemon cream sauce

The heat is starting to break around here, and we’re now entering that glorious Indian summertime. These days are some of my favorite of the year and disappear so quickly that I want to spend those perfect dusk hours outside instead of worrying about what I’m going to make for dinner. This is a quick one that’s perfect in springtime with fresh garden peas, but frozen peas work so well I still make it all year round. And if you make it with rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, you can have it all done in two pots in the time it takes to cook the pasta.

Fettuccine in a Lemon Cream Sauce

1/2 lb Fettuccine noodles
Small bag frozen peas or 2 cups fresh shelled peas
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 oz flour
1 oz butter
2 C cream
1 C milk
Juice and zest from 1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

Put the fettuccine on to boil in a pot of salted water. If using frozen peas, microwave them until warm. If fresh, blanch in hot water.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and flour together to form a light roux. Add some of the cream and let the roux dissolve. On medium low heat, continue to add the cream and milk as needed so that the sauce is still thickened, but not pasty. Grate the zest into the sauce, then add the juice. Stir to combine, then salt and pepper liberally.

Drain pasta, Add peas and chicken. Toss with the sauce.

To make this even easier on myself, I like to keep a little pre-made roux in the fridge. Then I just cut a hunk off and I just have to let the milk thicken. This is also what Alton Brown would refer to as “refrigerator velcro” meaning you could add anything you’ve got left over in the fridge. Sauteed onions or mushrooms would be great, bacon would never hurt, all manner of herbs would be welcome.

I tend to have the ingredients for this one on hand at all times, so it’s the perfect solution when it’s five o’clock, you’re still out running errands, and you haven’t even begun to think about dinner. Swing by the deli for a chicken and you’ll have dinner in no time.

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