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Saturday, 13 April 2013

(Versatile) Cream Sauce for Pasta

This is one of my favorite cream sauces to whip together.  It's fast, easy, and extremely versatile!  You can use the same base to make (Chicken or Shrimp) Alfredo, Mac & Cheese, or Creamy Pesto sauces.  
Macaroni & Cheese version of the Versatile Cream Sauce w/ spiral brown rice noodles

(Versatile) Cream Sauce for pasta (gluten-free pasta, obviously).  
Here is the basic recipe, and some different options to try!

Melt in saucepan until bubbling over medium heat:
1/4 cup butter

Add and cook until onion is tender
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced (optional - best only in Alfredo or Pesto)

Add the following and allow mixture to cook until boiling.  Once bubbling gently, cook for 2-3 minutes:
2-3 cups milk (more or less depending on desired thickness of sauce - remember, it's versatile!)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Mix the following together in a small bowl until smooth (to be added to your boiling butter/milk):

1/4 cup cold milk
2 Tbsp. cornstarch

Slowly add cornstarch/milk mixture to the boiling pot, stirring constantly. Let cook ~1-2 minutes.  It should thicken right away!  Keep stirring! 

Remove from heat and add one of the ingredient options below.  Then mix into gluten-free pasta of your choice!

Alfredo sauce (also nice with cooked chicken added)
Add 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Macaroni sauce
Add 1 to 2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Pesto sauce
Add 1/4 cup of pre-made pesto ( green or red pesto is sold near spaghetti sauce in the grocery store)
Optional: 1/4 cup grated parmesan

Some fun and easy options for your pasta!

There are a couple options. One is to use 2 fresh boneless breasts of chicken and cook up as directed below. The other way, and one that rarely occurs to me, is to do the following:
1. Buy a pre-roasted chicken, and remove meat to add into sauce OR Buy a can of chicken (sold near the tuna-fish).  
2. Cook in a skillet over med to med-high heat with 1 Tbsp of butter or 1 Tbsp of oil (I like olive oil) for about 1-2 minutes (until hot or cooked-through if using fresh).  Sprinkle on some pepper and salt while cooking.
Other optional seasonings to add while cooking:  parsley, oregano, basil, paprika, thyme.
Place on top of pasta and sauce.  Enjoy!

Buy pre-cooked shrimp from the freezer section.  Take a handful of shrimp and put in a skillet with 1 Tbsp of butter.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, add 1/2 tsp chopped garlic (optional). Cook over med to med-high heat for 5 minutes. 

Place on top of pasta and sauce.  Enjoy!

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