Tuesday, January 21, 2014
One Skillet Creamy Pasta
I love when dinner is simple to prepare and scrumptious to devour. This is one of those dishes that is surprisingly easy, yet really wows the whole family. The sauce is similar to an alfredo. This recipe uses whole milk instead of heavy cream. A little bit of cream cheese keeps everything smooth and creamy so you won't miss the heavy cream at all.
Grab a skillet. Toss in the ingredients and you'll end up with one amazing dish! I added in some chopped fresh spinach and chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Fresh tomatoes would be fabulous in this, too. Be sure to use fresh Parmesan ... the pre-packaged shredded kind just doesn't just melt as smoothly.
Yields 4 servings.
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 pound uncooked penne pasta
2 tablespoons butter
2 ounces cream cheese, cut into small cubes
1 cup fresh Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1 heaping cup chopped fresh spinach
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh basil, for garnish (optional)
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet or sauté pan. Add in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add in the chicken stock, milk and pasta. Bring to a boil, lid and reduce heat to medium-low (or so that everything is just at a simmer). Cook for about 15 - 18 minutes or until pasta is just cooked. Stir once or twice while pasta is cooking. Remove lid. Stir in the butter and cream cheese until melted. Add in the Parmesan and stir. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes and spinach. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Cook for a couple more minutes until spinach is just wilted. If things are too thick along the way, add in a little more milk or chicken stock.
Serve immediately. Garnish with additional Parmesan and/or fresh basil.
NOTE: Chicken can be added to make this a more-complete meal. You'll need 1 - 2 boneless and skinless chicken breasts that have been cut into 1-inch chunks. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Cook chicken in the olive oil prior to adding the garlic. Brown until almost cooked through, then continue with remaining recipe directions - starting with the garlic addition.