Deceptively Creamy Pasta

Deceptively creamy, because, instead of heavy cream, I use 2 oz of low fat cream cheese to round out the creamy portion of this pasta dish.  This creamy, broth based pasta sauce is flavored with plenty of garlic, vodka, and a dusting of freshly grated nutmeg.  A couple of handfuls of fresh baby spinach and some pan-fried parmesan crusted tomatoes add some color and crunch to this dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of Pasta (I use a wide noodled fettuccine)
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves of minced Garlic
  • 1/4 cup Vodka
  • 2 tbsp Flour
  • 1 cup Chicken Broth
  • 2 oz Cream Cheese (low fat or regular)
  • a few rasps of fresh Nutmeg
  • 2 Plum Tomatoes sliced into thin rounds.
  • 3/4 cup thickly grated Parmesan
  • Salt and Pepper for Seasoning
  • Cooking Spray (optional, and not necessary if you have a good nonstick pan)
  • 3-4 handfuls of Baby Spinach

Directions:

  1. Cook the pasta as you make the sauce.
  2. Make the Pan-fried Parmesan Crusted Tomatoes
    1. Heat a shallow nonstick pan.  I use a well seasoned cast-iron skillet, and some cooking spray.  You want a pan that retains heat well and evenly, and that does not allow cheese to stick to it.
    2. Once the pan has heated sprinkle several small (~ quarter sized) piles of parmesan cheese into the pan.
    3. Allow the cheese to melt into the pan.
    4. Gently set one tomato round onto every pile of cheese, and allow the tomato to cook into the cheese.
    5. Once the tomato and cheese have developed a nice crunchy, golden crust, flip the tomatoes over and sear the tomato bottoms.
    6. Remove the tomatoes from the pan, set them aside as you continue to assemble the pasta, and proceed to cook your next batch of tomatoes.
    7. If you have any remaining parmesan, once you are done with cooking the tomatoes, cook it up for additional crunch.
  3. While you are cooking the pasta and tomatoes begin working on the sauce –  it is a bit of a balancing act, but you want it to all come together at the same time so that the separate components of the dish do not grow cold.
    1. In a sauce pan sauté the garlic in the olive oil.
    2. Add the vodka.
    3. Allow the vodka to cook down for a few minutes.
    4. Add the flour to create a roux.
    5. Add the chicken broth, and whisk until the sauce starts to thicken.
    6. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.
    7. Once the sauce has thickened, remove it from the heat and whisk in the cream cheese.
    8. Add in a few rasps of fresh nutmeg.
  4. Assemble pasta:
    1. Add the spinach into the hot, just drained, pasta.
    2. Pour in the sauce, and stir it into the pasta and spinach.
    3. Serve the pasta with the parmesan and tomatoes sprinkled on top.
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One Comment Add yours

  1. chefkreso says:

    Looks incredible!

    Liked by 1 person

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