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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.


Ingredients:

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)

Directions:

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.


23 comments :

  1. What? This is so cool. A one-skillet pasta, where the pasta cooks IN milk and broth? Those noodles must taste so darn good. I must try this!

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    1. Yes ... so delish! I could have even eaten the pasta as-is after it cooked in the broth and milk - before even adding the rest. The noodles are so flavorful compared to just boiling in water! Can't wait to try other versions. This one is pretty rich, but super yummy. I'm gonna work on a regular mac n cheese this way.

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    2. Oh, I'm sure those noodles tasted great! I bet you could change it up by adding a splash of wine in with the broth. The liquid options are endless, really. Will be fun to experiment with mac and cheese. Can't wait to read about it!

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  2. I know the directions say to serve immediately, but do you think this would freeze well? Thank you!!

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    1. I'm not totally sure about freezing because I haven't tried it. You could always make this and plan to eat most of it right then, but freeze a little bit so you'll know for the future. :)

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  3. For those who are lactose intolerant - does Almond milk work just as well?

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    1. I am so sorry ... I overlooked your question. I have not tried it with almond milk, so I cannot comment on the result.

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    2. I tried this with almond milk. You get a little sweetness but it was amazing.

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    3. Thanks for letting us know that, Tia. That'll be helpful to those who are concerned with any lactose issues. :)

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  4. Could I use 2% milk instead?

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  5. This looks fantastic! Can't wait to try it!

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  6. I made this last night and it was SOOO good! My husband and 2 year old loved it as well! Thank you!

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  7. Saw this on Pinterest & I know it'll be Supper tomorrow night!! YUM!! And while I'm sure I'd be delighted to just stop with the tasty pasta...this is just a great base for so many variations to play with!! I have a nice variety of fresh Herbs growing that are going to get thrown in this mix too!! Thanks for sharing this!!

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  8. Thank you for this super delicious recipe! Next time I'll exchange the dried tomatoes for normal ones (I don't know why but I just don't like them that much). Nevertheless it still was such a great and simple meal. I already told my friends about it and I will definitely cook it again :).
    Greetings from Germany!

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    1. Thank you for visiting all the way from Germany! So happy that you enjoyed the recipe. :) I always appreciate hearing feedback from readers. :)

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  9. Made this tonight!! :D Thank you so much for sharing it and making it look so inspiring and beautiful! We all loved it! I doubled the recipe and now we have some tasty leftovers :)

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  10. I made this tonight and it was a hit! I had to double it because I have more than 4 mouths to feed. Debated on making this as a side or a one pot meal. Easy won over, but I used skinless smoked sausage instead of chicken (didn't have any). I cooked this first and then added at the end. Served with the Pioneer Woman's Best Bread (Found on thepioneerwoman.com) I also found on Pinterest. This was not one of the healthiest meals I have made, but it was awesome! Thank you fo such a wonderful recipe.

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  11. This is DEE-LISH! I used extra garlic to start b/c I love it so much and figured since I was using almond milk it would help tone down the sweetness. I also used chicken broth instead of stock (b/c it's what I had already open) and a little more of that too, I just eyeballed it. So, because of the extra butter I put in ((notice a trend here? lol, I tend to need a little extra!)) it is probably not on the "light" "low calorie" list, but I kept it vegetarian so no meat calories. I used red chard instead of spinach because I needed to use it up. Also, I had sun-dried tomato GARLIC! Used just as much of this as I did of the chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Yeah, my sauce was more on the red side :) It looked like a penne with vodka sauce, tasted a little similar too, with the sweetness and the garlicky all mixed together. I could go on and on about how much I loved this. I am going to add it to my rotation for sure!

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    1. All of your switch-ups sound good. So happy you enjoyed the dish. And, now I'm hungry. :) Your write up made me wish this was sitting in front of me. Yum!

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  12. Thank you! I made this tonight for my family. I added chicken and mushrooms as well. Total hit! We will be making this again. My family was teasing me asking if I went to Olive Garden lol. Also, easy clean up too!

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  13. Pasta is my favorite, so I'm always excited to learn a new recipe for pasta I've learned from internet or my friends or any one else and then enjoy it myself although not all of them were successful as I expected, but trying something new is always funny and exciting. Thanks for sharing.

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