Monday, September 12, 2011

Creamy Two Cheese Linguine

I haven't fully subscribed to the whole "Meatless Monday" thing.  It's a good idea in theory, but what if my week gets wonky and I need to move my menu around?  Or what if I just want a hamburger on a Monday?

Truth is, I grew up thinking that meals had to include a meat, vegetable and a starch.  Daily.  I'm not talking deep South fried chicken, butter beans & mashed potatoes, but it is a hard habit to break.  My family owned a meat processing plant, so going vegetarian wasn't exactly good for the bank account.  These days, I like the idea of a meal that can be thrown together quickly - and the easiest ones don't include meat.  Plus, some days I may or may not indulge at lunch and having a lighter dinner just fits.

I decided on this dish because I had some Asiago cheese that I wanted to use.  I also had some spinach that we were not going to eat before the weekend, so I stirred that in.  But the best part was that Cooper even liked this dish, so that moves it up pretty high on the list these days.

Creamy Two Cheese Linguine from The Novice Chef
  • 8oz linguine
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped & divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2oz shaved Asiago cheese, divided
  • 2oz fat free cream cheese, at room temp
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
Cook the pasta in salted boiling water, according to the package.  While the pasta cooks, heat a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Pour the olive oil into the pan, turning to coat.  Add in the flour and whisk constantly, for about 3-4 minutes or until the mixture begins to brown.  Whisk in the milk, 2 tablespoons of basil and salt & pepper.  Continue stirring until the mixture begins to thicken, about 4-5 minutes.  Add in 1 1/2 oz of Asiago cheese & the cream cheese, stir until the cheese melts.  Reduce heat to low and set aside until the pasta cooks.

Once the pasta is cooked to al dente, drain and add in the spinach.  Stir for 2-3 minutes, until the spinach wilts.  Combine the pasta & sauce in a large bowl, tossing well to coat the pasta.  Serve garnished with the remaining cheese and basil. 

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