Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Pasta with Cream Cheese Sauce

Wow, did I ever have a tough time naming this one! I wasn't sure how it was going turn out, but after one bite I knew I had to post it.

I love doing one dish meals, less dishes for one thing. I love using all those odd bits and bobs from the back of the fridge and the top of the pantry that might otherwise sit there forever, sad and forgotten. It helps the food feel useful and loved, and frees up space for new bits and bobs.

I used that philosophy to create dinner tonight, somewhat out of desperation, because I was out of enchilada sauce and the store was out of rotisserie chicken. ARGH! But this tasted good enough that I didn't mind after all...

3 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp butter
salt and pepper
3 tbsp dried minced onions
1/3 cup sherry (or chicken broth and lemon juice)
2 tsp dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 wedges Lauging Cow Light Garlic and Herb cheese
1/3-1/2 cup milk
1/2 box wagon wheel pasta (8 oz piccolini, to get technical)

Heat oil and butter together in a large skillet. Pat chicken breasts dry, season with salt and pepper. Brown chicken, about 5-6 minutes on both sides. Remove and set aside. To pan, add 1/3 cup sherry, scraping up the brown bits. *This is called de-glazing. Add the minced onion, mustard, and garlic. Cook for a minute or so. Break the wedges into smaller pieces, so they melt easier, and add them to the wine mixture. Mash them up with a fork and let them melt in the sauce. Pour in the milk, stir in well. I sort of splashed it in, so the amount is a guestimate. Let simmer on medium-low to let it thicken a bit.

Meanwhile, start the pasta. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Pour in the pasta, and bring back to a boil. Cook for 7 minutes, for al dente (tender with a slightly chewy center). Drain and toss with the sauce.
I added some peas here, but I only had about 1/4 cup. Not enough peas! So I rummaged around and found a bag of mostly used up broccoli that I threw in too. Let that sit for a bit, covered, while the broccoli and peas thawed and heated up. Some parsley sprinkled on top gave more green color!

Let's just say that this was thoroughly enjoyed. In fact, I am eating a second bowl as I write this. We were blessed with children who eat broccoli, because I have made them since they could gum the "little flowers" on top, so they gobbled it up. I like the tangy cream cheesey flavor. In fact, those garlic herb wedges may be on my list again. Or maybe I'll just use plain cream cheese and add the garlic and herbs myself. It would be cheaper that way...

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