Anyone who has ever been to my house for a meal or two has more than likely had some variation of pasta. I love it! I could eat pasta 6 days a week, unfortunately, the scale usually reminds me that I need to eat other foods too *dramatic eye roll*
The best thing about having friends over for dinner and serving pasta, I can get rid of all the foods that are about to go bad that I know I won’t be able to eat by myself before I have to throw them out. Sorry to my friends, I regularly use you all to clean out my fridge!
A creamy alfredo sauce is really easy and you can add other ingredients to it to make it a completely different dish.
Basic Ingredients you will need:
Whipping Cream (the kind you find in the milk section of the grocery store – look for something with 35% on it)
Butter – You can use the dairy free kind if you have dietary issues but really the real stuff is what you want.
Cheese – Parmesan is typical, but Romano cheese can work well too. Kraft makes a shaker container with 3 different types of cheese in it that I usually buy – (this is what it looks like).
Goat Cheese – this is my secret ingredient for creamy pasta sauces, I buy it when it’s on sale and throw it in the freezer for when I need it again – did you know you can freeze soft cheeses? fun fact!! You’ll find goat cheese in the deli department of the grocery store – Boursin makes a delicious variety, you can get anything that is savory (herb, chives, or original are my go-to’s).
Garlic – buy the powder, get the fresh stuff – whatever, just make sure you have lots of it!
White Wine (optional) – To drink, but also pour a little bit in your pasta at step 7 for a nice expensive taste.
The beauty of pasta dishes is you can add meat or go vegetarian. I’ve made variations of pasta with chicken, bacon, scallops, lobster, tuna, shrimp and on really cheap weeks I haven’t added any meat and focused on the veggies I had sitting in the bottom of the fridge.
Meats and Seafood: Chicken, bacon, scallops, lobster, tuna, or shrimp
Vegetables: Peppers (red, yellow, green), tomatoes (cherry, Roma, or sun-dried), or green onions are always great options
Seasoning: Cajun, red pepper flakes, maple syrup, curry powder, oregano
Get creative, what are some of your favorite vegetables? can they be added to pasta – well there is really only one way to find out.
Here is a general idea of how to create pasta dishes written for the absolute beginner.
Step 1: Prep work – It makes cooking so much easier when you have all your ingredients out on the counter within reach of the stove. Especially when you take the time to pre cut your meat and veggies (Check out this video to teach you how to prepare your meat and vegetables). Also, read all of the instructions of a recipe before you begin – you want to have an idea of what you are doing before you begin.
Step 2: Cook your pasta, while your pasta is starting to heat up / boil move onto step 3
Step 3: Grab a deep frying pan or a pot (preferably a deep frying pan, but use whatever you have). Put the pan on the stove and set it to medium heat.
Stir your pasta
Cut off a piece of butter, don’t overthink this – about as much as you would use to butter a piece of toast.
Step 4: Add meat of choice, make sure it gets coated in the hot butter and let it cook thoroughly while you stir your pasta (is it boiling yet?).
Step 5: Add your garlic (If using fresh use 2 cloves. If using powder use 1/4 teaspoon)
Fun Fact about Garlic: The later in the meal you add it the more garlic-y taste you get. So if you add it at the beginning of your cooking you will get a slight hint of garlic, whereas if you add it at the end you will get a strong taste of garlic.
Cook that up with your meat until you can smell the garlic and your meat is done
Taste test your pasta – is it done? if so, drain in a colander (Also known as a strainer) and let it sit in the sink – pasta will keep cooking after it’s out of the water unless you run it under cold water so if it’s slightly over done feel free to run it under water to stop it from continuing to cook (*cue the cringing from professional chefs again*)
Step 6: Remove your meat to a piece of paper towel and add whipping cream and goat cheese to your pan
Step 7: once it starts to bubble a bit; add any other seasonings you want (Cajun, red pepper flakes, more garlic, etc.)
Step 8: Add your other cheese a little bit at a time while whisking like your life depends on it, if you add too much cheese at once it will get clumpy, if you don’t whisk enough it will stick to the bottom or get clumpy. Clumpy is bad!
Step 9: Throw any vegetables you want in (tomatoes, peppers, green onion), wait about 30 seconds, add your meat back in, now that pasta we almost forgot about in the sink can be added to this mix or you can put your pasta on the plate and pour the sauce on top of it. If adding altogether prior to serving, make sure you mix thoroughly.
Step 10: Serve it up and relish in the flavor and the compliments.
If you are looking for an actual recipe – here is one of my favorite go-to recipes – Cajun Chicken Penne Pasta