Creamy pasta sauce is one of those things that looks scarily difficult to make but isn’t if you know a few tricks. I’m not talking about using store-bought Alfredo sauce, which while good in a pinch, often contains tons of salt and preservatives. I’m talking about cleverly assembling pre-prepared ingredients so that they’ll have that from-scratch taste with a fraction of the hassle.
Take this pasta dish.
This is your basic mushroom alfredo pasta, but with big pieces of meaty garlicky mushrooms and a creamy sauce made from cream cheese, a little jarred pesto, and some of the water you cooked your pasta in. This is a great special occasion dish and it’s vegetarian to boot!
Here’s How You Do It
Difficulty Level: Medium
Cook time: 20-30 Minutes
1 Pack of White Mushrooms, thinly sliced – They’re generally sold in plastic tubs of about 227 grams. Just get one and wipe the dirt off of them before you slice them, no need to rinse them.
2 -3 Cloves of Garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
2 Teaspoons of Butter
About ¼ of a Box of Pasta – I used Spinach lasagna noodles which I broke into pieces to form about 2 cups of dry pasta, but use what you like.
½ Cup Cream Cheese
1 Tablespoon Basil Pesto – Available in the same aisle as the pasta
1 Teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar – Enhances the meatiness of the mushrooms
3 Tablespoons of Dry White Wine – Optional
Salt and Pepper To Taste
1 Medium Pot
1 Pair of Tongs
1 Frying Pan
Measuring Cups and Spoons
1 Spatula – If your frying pan is non-stick, use a plastic spatula
1 Knife and Cutting Board
1 Strainer for your Pasta
Fill a medium pot with water, add some salt and put it on the stove on high heat.
Slice your mushrooms, peel and mince your garlic, and get your other ingredients ready.
When the water is boiling, dump in the pasta and give it a quick stir.
In your frying pan on another burner on your stove, heat the Olive Oil and Butter.
When they’re melted, dump in the mushrooms and season with a little salt.
Stir everything around with your spatula. It will seem like a lot of mushrooms but they’ll shrink as they cook.
When the mushrooms are a little smaller, add the garlic and stir everything around. When you smell the garlic, add the white wine (if using), the balsamic vinegar, and the pesto.
Stir it all together and bring to a simmer.
Check your pasta. If the water is cloudy, scoop some of it into the frying pan with the mushrooms using your trusty ladle. The cloudiness comes from the starch in the pasta and will help the sauce come together.
Add the cream cheese and stir everything together until the cheese is completely melted and has merged with the other pan liquids to form a sauce.
Taste and adjust for Salt and Pepper.
If your pasta’s not done yet, turn the heat off under the frying pan and get the pasta to your desired level of doneness.
Drain the pasta but DO NOT RINSE IT. You need the starch on the surface of the pasta to help the sauce stick.
Add the pasta to the pan with the creamy mushrooms and turn the heat on high.
Stir everything together with the tongs and cook for a minute so that everything comes together.
Serve and Enjoy!
-Samantha R. Gold
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