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Dinner in 40 minutes: Lemony Shrimp and Spinach Fettuccine

Dishes with “primavera” in their names have nothing on this lovely springtime pasta. A combination of nonfat half-and-half and cornstarch makes a convincingly creamy sauce.

Lemony Shrimp and Spinach Fettuccine

kosher salt

6 ounces dried fettuccine

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 medium tomato

3/4 cup loosely packed, jarred artichoke hearts (optional)

3 or 4 scallions

1 lemon

1 medium clove garlic

1 pound peeled and deveined extra-large or jumbo raw shrimp (about 24 total)

1/2 cup dry white wine (may substitute chicken broth)

3/4 cup nonfat half-and-half

1 tablespoon cornstarch

3 cups baby spinach

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (optional)

Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add a pinch of salt and the fettuccine; cook according to the package directions (al dente). Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot (off the heat); drizzle with 1 teaspoon of the oil.

Meanwhile, dice the tomato, discarding most of the seeds. Add to the drained pasta in the pot. If you’re using the artichoke hearts, coarsely chop and add to the pot.

Trim the scallions, then coarsely chop. Use a zester to peel strips or grate zest from the lemon without catching any of the pith. Mince the garlic.

Heat the remaining teaspoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Stir in the scallions and garlic; cook for 2 minutes, until just softened. Add the shrimp and cook for 1 minute or until they start to turn opaque. Turn them over and cook for 1 minute or until just opaque on the second side. Stir in the wine and the zest.

Whisk together the half-and-half and cornstarch until well blended, then pour into the skillet. Cook for about 3 minutes to form a smooth, thickened sauce, stirring a bit. Reduce the heat to medium-low; add the spinach and toss gently to incorporate. The spinach should wilt a little. Add the cheese, if using. For a saucier consistency, stir in some or all of the reserved pasta cooking water.

Serve right away. Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from “Eat What You Love Everyday: 200 All-New, Great-Tasting Recipes Low in Sugar, Fat, and Calories,” by Marlene Koch

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