When I want creamy pasta I want it to be two things, rich and delicious. To me, it’s supposed to taste a little decadent, like there could possibly be a litre of whipping cream and a pound of butter floating around in there. The problem is that I love pasta so much that if I cooked it that way I would be 5000 lbs with at least 10 heart attacks under my belt. So, instead I’ve created my own pasta template that uses cream cheese to mimic that creaminess but doesn’t have a billion calories, (only 1000’s), (actually I have no idea but I think it’s not too bad…).
The idea is really basic. By using chicken or veggie stock and cream cheese as well as the garlic and olive oil, a rich creamy sauce is created that can hold any flavour s. I love the combination of tomatoes and zucchini’s and with the wealth of them right now it’s a great place to start. If I didn’t kill every basil plant I come in contact with (5 this year) it would be another great herb to try. The slightly licoricey flavour of basil is almost perfect with fresh tomatoes.
I tried a new product for this recipe and I’m still on the fence about it. I used the Philadelphia cooking crème instead of regular cream cheese thinking it would blend easier into the sauce. It did make a creamy sauce but the ingredient list is longer then I prefer, especially compared to regular cream cheese. The difference in the ease of meltyness wasn’t enough for me to feel the additives to the product are justified. I have included both in the recipe so you can use whichever you prefer. The sauce came together a little easier and required less time in terms of melting in the cheese with the cooking cream, however, the cream cheese alone thickened the sauce more and required less cook down time.
I also used the Catelli Healthy Harvest whole wheat linguini. This was delicious and I will absolutely use it on a regular basis. I did find the recommended cooking time was too long for al dente so only cooked the pasta for 7 minutes instead of the 9 suggested. It added a slightly nutty flavour to the pasta without the grainy, chewy texture I’ve sometimes found with other whole wheat pastas.
Tomatoe and Zucchini Pasta
1/2 cup diced onion (about ½ an onion)
1 crushed clove of garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cups sliced zucchini
2 pints of cherry tomatoes about 4 cups
1/2 cup of chicken stock
1/4 cup philadephia cooking cream or cream cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan for garnish
Over medium heat cook the onions in olive oil until translucent. Add the garlic and zucchini and sauté until the zucchini starts to have some colour. Add the tomatoes, stock and oregano and simmer until the tomatoes have softened, about 5-7 minutes. Melt in the cream cheese and continue to simmer until the sauce has reduced and will coat the back of a spoon.
Pour over pasta and garnish with Parmesan cheese
I’d love to hear how you’ve found ways to “lighten” up or healthify your favourite recipes! Right me a comment or join the conversation at www.facebook.com/myweeklydish