This sauce is easy, comes together in less than 30 minutes and its full of spicy creamy goodness. I have found that the most useful recipes are more of a “process” or a “formula” than a rigid recipe. An adaptable framework allows more room for creativity, but also gives some flexibility to use ingredients you have on hand. Recipes that use up dribs and drabs of leftovers are useful efficient, reduce waste and are more fun take make, in my opinion.
I created this pasta sauce recipe myself, using a bunch of ingredients I was trying to use up at the end of the week. I liked it so much I made it again and again, with different variations. It works with almost any combination of meats or vegetables you can come up with. Chicken, pork, sausage, kelbasa and seafood are all great additions. You can also double up on the veggies and make it vegetarian.
Pasta with Spicy Cream Sauce:
3 oz. (half a block) of cream cheese
10 oz can of rotel
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1-2 cups of veggies, raw, frozen or or already cooked. Use up those leftovers or whatever you have harvested from your garden, anything goes! I have used the following: chopped peppers, onions, tomatoes, green tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, frozen peas, summer squash, winter squash, green beans and kale
TIP: If you are using a winter squash or root vegetable, like carrots or sweet potatoes in its raw state chop it up and microwave it for a couple of minutes to speed up the cooking process.
1/2 to 1 cup of deglazing liquids I have used the following: pasta water, white wine, lemon juice, chicken stock or any combination of those. I have tried lime juice, that turned bitter so I wouldn’t recommend it.
1 chicken breast chopped, or whatever meat you have on hand.
Fresh herbs, shredded parm or a cheese you have on hand, or squeezed lemon wedges, as garnish (optional)
Pasta, any shape will work but I usually use angel hair because it cooks so quickly.
Start out by cooking your meat if it is raw and at the same time start boiling water for pasta. Cook the pasta per the package instructions.
Once the meat is cooked through add your veggies (except frozen peas) and garlic. Saute over medium heat until browned on the edges and cooked through.
Cut up the cream cheese into a 1″ square pieces and add it to the saute. Turn the heat down to medium low and stir the cream cheese until most of the lumps are gone.
Add canned tomatoes and chillis (rotel) and a spritz of lemon juice, pasta water or white wine to deglaze the pan and scrape the browned pits off of the bottom of the pan with a plastic or wooden spoon. Once the pan is deglazed add enough extra liquid, usually around 3/4 of a cup, to make the sauce. Add the cooked pasta. Simmer until slightly thickened. Add frozen peas at this point if you are using them.
Serve and garnish with fresh herbs or cheese, or squeezed lemon wedges.
Sorry I don’t have pic of this plated. It got gobbled up before I had a chance to take pictures. I hope you use this technique to use up some leftovers and make a quick tasty meal.
Do you have a favorite method to use up leftovers and extras?