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Creamy Lemon Pasta with Carrots and Peas

This springy pasta, bright with lemon, will satisfy the mac-and-cheese lovers in your life, as well as the more sophisticated palates at the table. It’s a great way to showcase the season’s fresh peas, and it comes together in no time.

  • Yield: 2 to 4 servings


  • 8 ounces whole grain rotini (or your preferred pasta)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 shallot, finely minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (about ½ teaspoon)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • Zest of 1 medium lemon (about 2 to 3 teaspoons)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus more to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
  • ¾ cup grated sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, dill, or chives
  • Finely grated Parmesan cheese, for serving


  1. Step 1

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt generously. As it’s coming to a boil, melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the shallots and sauté over medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute more.

  2. Step 2

    Add the broth, cream, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 1 cup, about 8 minutes.

  3. Step 3

    Remove from heat and stir in the cheese. Taste and add salt and pepper, and more lemon juice if desired.

  4. Step 4

    Meanwhile, when the water comes to a boil, add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions. A minute or two before the pasta is ready, add the peas and carrots (1 minute if using frozen and thawed peas, or 2 minutes if using fresh peas).  When peas and pasta are ready, dip a measuring cup into the water and pull out about ½ cup of the cooking water; set aside. Drain the pasta and vegetables in a strainer.

  5. Step 5

    Return the pasta and vegetables to the pot and add the sauce. Toss well to coat. The sauce will thicken as it cools and as the pasta absorbs it. If it seems too thick, add a little of the reserved pasta water to loosen it up.  Add the herbs, taste again for salt and lemon juice, and serve with freshly grated Parmesan at the table.