Pasta: It’s easy, filling and great comfort food. It can get pretty boring though, if the only time you are eating it is with some type of red sauce. Particularly if it’s just jarred sauce…. not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Yes, I am Italian, and yes, I take short-cuts in the kitchen all the time. Today I’m going to share one of my favorite short-cuts for cream based pasta sauces.
These cream based dishes are easy to whip up and you can use whatever you happen to have on hand… as long as you have milk or cream and this:
I use Boursin cheese a lot and also use Alouette cheese as well, but any type of spreadable cheese that you might eat with crackers will work. I like the kind that have garlic and herbs, or roasted red peppers, or in this case, Sundried Tomato & Basil.
Here’s the basic recipe:
3 Tbsp butter
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
pinch of nutmeg
2 Tbsp flour
2 cups of milk or cream
1 6 to 8oz package of spreadable cheese
1 to 2 cups chicken broth
Melt butter over medium-high heat in a large skillet and saute onion and garlic until soft. Add nutmeg and flour, stirring together to create a roux. Lower the heat to medium-low and alternate adding milk/cream and cheese spread until it is all incorporated.
Let simmer for a few minutes, then add chicken broth in small amounts, until reaching your desired consistency. Don’t rush it… you can always add a bit more, you can’t take it back out again. Once you have the base sauce, you can add whatever else you like.
Once my sauce was simmering nicely, I added chopped, cooked chicken (about 2 cups), chopped bacon (1 pound), sauteed mushrooms (8 oz, sliced), a pinch of red pepper flakes and halved grape tomatoes just before serving. It looked a little thick, so I added a bit more of the chicken broth until it was just right.
Serve over penne (or your favorite) pasta and top with a little fresh basil and Parmesan cheese. Yum! Mangia!