Friday, February 4, 2011

Good Food - Pasta with Basil Cream Sauce

I love basil, my kids love white sauce... how to marry the two?  I found the perfect recipe that creates an excellent pesto sauce as well as a yummy, low fat  (well, sorta low fat, it's creamy but doesn't use cream) alfredo sauce.  Mix them together and it's the perfect dish that pleases everyone.  And if you have someone who objects to "ew, green sauce", the white sauce is excellent on its own.

Pasta with Basil Cream Sauce
original recipe here 

since part of the recipe is in metrics, I converted the recipe to cups & ounces**


1 pound pasta

For the Basil Pesto:

2 cups fresh Basil
1 cup fresh Parsley (I didn't have fresh and used 1/2 cup dried parsley)
3 cloves Garlic
1/4 cup Roasted Walnuts
2 Tbsps. Grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. fine Salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground Pepper
3/4 cup Olive Oil

For the White Sauce:

1/4 cup Butter
1 tsp. minced Garlic
1/4 cup Flour
4 cups lowfat Milk
7 oz. (@ 1 cup) Grated quick melt cheese (I used the quattro formaggio mix from Trader Joe's)
1/4 tsp. pepper


I. For the Basil Pesto:

Wash basil and parsley well and dry.
Place all ingredients, except olive oil, in a food processor or blender. Blend together, then slowly add the olive oil until the pesto is smooth. Set aside in a sealed container and keep in the refrigerator.

II. For the White Sauce:

In a medium size saucepan, melt butter and saute garlic on low heat until light brown.  Then add the flour. While stirring this mixture together, you'll cook the flour until the color is somewhat blonde, around 2 minutes at low heat. Change your kitchen tool to a wire whisk and slowly add the milk while stirring the sauce. Once you've finished adding the milk, turn to medium heat, add the grated cheese & pepper and stir sauce until thick. Stir in 3 tablespoons of the Basil Pesto prepared earlier.

III. For the Pasta

Cook in boiling water for 10-12 minutes or until al dente.
To infuse flavor into the pasta:  When pasta is cooked, drain to a bowl and toss in a little olive oil and basil pesto, around 2 Tbsps. each.

Add the Basil Pesto Cream sauce as desired and top with grated parmesan cheese.  BTW, if you have extra Pesto sauce, it can be frozen for another time.  I froze mine in an ice cube tray.


**this is for us folks in the u.s. who never *got* the whole metrics thing-- weren't we supposed to convert back in the 70's??