Always an inspiration are recipes that I e-mail out to family and friends. I was talking to my brother today, who had some chicken he needed to cook, and wanted some pasta for dinner. I really like a creamy sauce with chicken and pasta (plus a few vegetables), so I recommended this:
Creamy Pasta Sauce
This is great to use up whatever you have on hand. Also, it reheats very well
8 oz pasta (linguine, spaghetti, corkscrew)
1 tablespoon butter
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon flour
1 ¼ cups low fat milk
¼ cup of low fat cream cheese (block or tub)
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
Start water to boil for pasta. For the sauce, melt the butter in a sauce pan or skillet. Add garlic and sauté for a few minutes, then add flour. Cook for about 30 seconds, then slowly add milk, stirring with a whisk. Cook until nearly boiling, add cheeses and cook until very thick.
Drain pasta (with optional vegetables) and return to pot, add sauce and other options. Give a good twist of black pepper, add more cheese or toasted nuts if desired
• Vegetables (blanched): Use up to 2-3 cups of asparagus, peas, broccoli, carrots or other vegetables to pasta and cook (need to judge how much time to cook the veggies, generally add 2-3 minutes before the pasta is done
• Vegetables (sauted): Use up to 1-2 cups of onions, shallots, mushrooms, and/or bell peppers, can put garlic here rather in sauce. Place a small amount of oil in skillet, add red pepper flakes if desired, and sauté vegetables. If it gets too dry, add a little white wine, or a bit of broth or water. Use the same pan to cook the sauce, remove the vegetables first (unless you are just using a little onion or shallots, then its ok to leave them in the pan).
• Herbs: whatever you like, add to sauce when it is done.
• Meat: Sauté chicken chunks, black forest ham (cut sandwich slices into strips), or use other leftover roasted meat.
• Cheese: the original recipe called for Gorgonzola, but I’ve never actually tried this. Usually I use a hard cheese, plus will throw in scraps if we have any left from a cheese appetizer.
• Nuts: A nice addition if there is not any meat in the sauce. Walnuts or pine nuts, toasted in the toaster oven (1 cycle through “toast” on a foil lined pan) are good.