Saturday, June 19, 2010

Pasta in a Garlic Cream Sauce

I love garlic. Okay, now that that is out of the way, I have a story for you. My dad worked in an Italian restaurant way back in the day when he was still a young, think teenage, pain in the rear. (Now he's just an older pain in the rear, by the way.) He made garlic bread and lots of it. He would come home reeking of garlic from his hair, clothes, and skin. This gave my dad a huge aversion to garlic. We never had it in our house. A little garlic powder here and there, but no cloves of garlic, no happy minced garlic gracing our lasagna, no roasted garlic in our mashed potatoes. A travesty, I tell you! But I love garlic. And now that I'm out of my parents' house, I use the magical garlic bulb liberally in many recipes. And this one is no exception. Loved it. Reheated well and with a couple minor tweaks, I think it could actually achieve a depth of flavor beyond the wonderful garlicky-ness. For next time: a little lemon juice and some fresh basil chopped and sprinkled on top would be the clencher.

Pasta in a Garlic Cream Sauce

1 pound pasta, any shape
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups shredded parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
3 to 4 cloves of garlic, finely minced or pressed through a garlic press
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4-1/2 teaspoon pepper (we like ours a little peppery)
1 1/2 cups half and half
Milk for thinning, if necessary

Cook the pasta according to package directions to al dente. Combine parmesan cheese and flour in a bowl and set aside. Meanwhile, melt butter and olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Once it's all melted, add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add salt and pepper and stir. Then add half and half and cheese. Stir constantly until the sauce simmers and begins to thicken. Do not boil.

Add in milk if necessary to thin the sauce if it becomes too thick and continue stirring. That's my husband helping me out!

Pour sauce over cooked pasta and serve. A 1/4 of chopped basil would make a nice accompaniment for the top of the pasta and a splash of lemon juice will brighten up the flavors. This was great served with honey dijon chicken with a roasted almond crust.

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