For some of my dishes, I like to have a pasta with a light flavor as a side dish. I’m not a big fan of Alfredo because to me, that’s just too heavy and also kind of dull on the palette. I mix up a sauce that I guess is kind of Alfredo-like, but not really. It’s light tasting, creamy, herby, and has some mellow garlic flavor throughout.
- pasta (I use half of a package of linguine)
- ~1.5 cups of white wine
- ~10 leaves of fresh basil
- 3 shallots (the greens, not the bulb)
- 6-8 garlic cloves
- juice of 1 lemon
- knob of butter
- 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese
- 1/8 cup of heavy whipping cream
- chunk of parmesan reggiano
- handful of olives (pitted, obviously)
- a few capers
- fennel seeds
- dash of dried pepper flakes, to taste
- a good sprinkling of dried oregano
Mince the garlic and fry briefly to mellow out the flavor a little bit. Then put your fresh herbs, olives, capers, chunks of parmesan reggiano, and fried garlic into the food processor along with the white wine. Let the food processor do its thing to get that all chopped up very finely.
Then mix in rest of the ingredients (why not earlier? You don’t want to beat the hell out of the heavy whipping cream or it will take on a different texture), and simmer in a saucepan on medium-low heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring periodically.
While the sauce is cooking, cook your pasta. When the sauce and the pasta are done, toss the noodles in the sauce.
I tend to make this as a side dish to my chicken marsala, but it wouldn’t be hard to tweak this recipe to make it more of a main course rather than a side dish. For instance, substituting goat cheese for the ricotta would give this a much bolder, tangy flavor (I tried it once–very good flavor, but very poor as a side dish since it overwhelmed my main course!). You could also chop up some fresh veggies (e.g. plum tomatoes, julienned red peppers, wilted spinach) and mix in some crumbled sausage. You get the idea.