Today is not a "rocket science" post, but this is one of those tips that made me tap dance with glee when I first found out about it. Definitely falls into the Domestic Diva category. In fact, if you happy dance over this too, please let me know.
This is SO easy and SO yummy! This may make you want to eat pasta with much more frequency, and your family will likely thank you for it.
Want to make a fabulous Alfredo sauce? Want to make a fabulous Blush sauce? Want a Pasta Primavera to go mad for? Well *I* know the secret ingredient. And because I heart you folks so much, I will tell you what it is....
Plain, Low-fat, Cream cheese.
Yes! The recipes today are barely recipes at all. Watch how easy this is...
For a really good blush sauce, take your favourite pasta sauce (canned, jarred, homemade, doesn't matter! I've even used a can or two of stewed tomatoes!) and while it is slowly simmering, waiting for the pasta to cook, melt in some cream cheese. I use one container of "spreadable" cream cheese for a meal around here (which would mean 1 cream cheese to 2 jars of my marinara sauce). Sometimes it is just that simple. Sometimes I add ground beef. Always a liberal sprinkling of parmasean or asiago cheese. Toss with your pasta of whichever shape you prefer and you are done!
Alfredo Sauce? Easy: 1 cup of milk (or more depending on how thin you want it), 1 tub of cream cheese, 1 cup of parmasean cheese, and 2-3 cloves minced garlic (optional). Simmer, until hot through. Toss with fettucine (or seriously ladle it up like soup. This stuff is GOOD!)
Primavera: 1 cup (or so) chicken broth (or veggie broth), 1 tub of cream cheese, a pinch of dried basil (fresh is better) and as many of your favourite veggies as you like chopped in to bite sized pieces. Heat some oil in a deep frying pan. Toss in the veggies to start to soften. Add the cream cheese and basil. As the cheese melts, slowly add in the broth (keep stirring) so that the cheese incorporates into the broth. Heat through and toss with your pasta (I like rotini for this. The Spiral shaped pasta grabs the veggies and sauce nicely). And of course some grated parmasean on top is delicious! I also use this base as my white sauce for a vegetarian lasagna that I make (then I stir in ricotta cheese and...well this is getting too complicated for here!). Easy peasy!
So how about that? Could this be any easier? No fussy white sauces, no strange thickening agents. Just YUM! I could go on here about how I use cream cheese to make the universe's best Cream of Tomato soup, but I'd rather just have you over someday for lunch and show you :-)
Let me know what you think!