Cream of the crop: An easy, delicious cream sauce

Despite potentially giving you away as a boring, picky eater, it’s hard to deny the appeal of fettucini alfredo—or any other pasta slathered in rich, thick cream sauce, for that matter. The best thing about a making your own cream sauce is that the variations are innumerable. Use this basic recipe as a base, then add pesto, like I did, or any other ingredients that tickle your fancy. For the unimaginative among us, here are some combinations that would be fantastic mixed with the cream sauce base and tossed with pasta:

  • Butternut squash puree + sage + a dash of nutmeg and allspice
  • Crispy pancetta + fontina + peas
  • Garlic + red pepper flakes + shrimp
  • Tomato puree + red pepper flakes
  • Porcini mushrooms + garlic + parsley
  • Gorgonzola + spinach + chopped walnut garnish
  • Asiago + Parmesan + Fontina + garlic
  • Sausage + parsley + onion

Basic cream sauce recipe

You’ll need:

4 tablespoons of butter

2-3 tablespoons of flour

1-2 cups of half and half or heavy whipping cream

1-2 cups shredded/grated parmesan, asiago, or other italian cheese

salt and pepper to taste.

Melt butter in a sauce pan over medium heat and slowly add flour, stirring constantly. If the butter begins to burn (a little browning is desirable), turn down the heat. When the flour dissolves you should have a thick paste. Slowly add the cream or half-and-half, continuing to stir with a whisk. Add as much as needed for the desired thickness. Add cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Add additional ingredients, as desired. Toss with cooked pasta.

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