Deceptively creamy, because, instead of heavy cream, I use 2 oz of low fat cream cheese to round out the creamy portion of this pasta dish. This creamy, broth based pasta sauce is flavored with plenty of garlic, vodka, and a dusting of freshly grated nutmeg. A couple of handfuls of fresh baby spinach and some pan-fried parmesan crusted tomatoes add some color and crunch to this dish.
- 1 package of Pasta (I use a wide noodled fettuccine)
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 3 cloves of minced Garlic
- 1/4 cup Vodka
- 2 tbsp Flour
- 1 cup Chicken Broth
- 2 oz Cream Cheese (low fat or regular)
- a few rasps of fresh Nutmeg
- 2 Plum Tomatoes sliced into thin rounds.
- 3/4 cup thickly grated Parmesan
- Salt and Pepper for Seasoning
- Cooking Spray (optional, and not necessary if you have a good nonstick pan)
- 3-4 handfuls of Baby Spinach
- Cook the pasta as you make the sauce.
- Make the Pan-fried Parmesan Crusted Tomatoes
- Heat a shallow nonstick pan. I use a well seasoned cast-iron skillet, and some cooking spray. You want a pan that retains heat well and evenly, and that does not allow cheese to stick to it.
- Once the pan has heated sprinkle several small (~ quarter sized) piles of parmesan cheese into the pan.
- Allow the cheese to melt into the pan.
- Gently set one tomato round onto every pile of cheese, and allow the tomato to cook into the cheese.
- Once the tomato and cheese have developed a nice crunchy, golden crust, flip the tomatoes over and sear the tomato bottoms.
- Remove the tomatoes from the pan, set them aside as you continue to assemble the pasta, and proceed to cook your next batch of tomatoes.
- If you have any remaining parmesan, once you are done with cooking the tomatoes, cook it up for additional crunch.
- While you are cooking the pasta and tomatoes begin working on the sauce – it is a bit of a balancing act, but you want it to all come together at the same time so that the separate components of the dish do not grow cold.
- In a sauce pan sauté the garlic in the olive oil.
- Add the vodka.
- Allow the vodka to cook down for a few minutes.
- Add the flour to create a roux.
- Add the chicken broth, and whisk until the sauce starts to thicken.
- Season the sauce with salt and pepper.
- Once the sauce has thickened, remove it from the heat and whisk in the cream cheese.
- Add in a few rasps of fresh nutmeg.
- Assemble pasta:
- Add the spinach into the hot, just drained, pasta.
- Pour in the sauce, and stir it into the pasta and spinach.
- Serve the pasta with the parmesan and tomatoes sprinkled on top.
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