Monday, March 28, 2011

Tomato Blue Cheese Pasta

oh. my. word. this is SO good. seriously, good. creamy, tomatoey pasta goodness. this is also a pretty easy recipe & i've made my modifications to make it a little more calorie friendly!!

if you like blue cheese, you will love this recipe. if you don't like blue cheese, shame on you. and try this recipe anyway b/c it does not give an overwhelming blue cheese taste, its just very creamy with tons o' flavor. trust me.

ben loves this pasta dish. i think its his new favorite that i make at home. and my kids even gobble it up.

try this tonight. for reals. and then go give Pioneer Woman some love. because she is a pasta genius.

1 box pasta ( i use whole wheat or healthy harvest. i like penne or bow tie pasta the best with this dish)
olive oil
3 cloves minced garlic, or garlic powder/garlic salt
1 28 oz can (or 2 14 oz cans) diced tomatoes, mostly drained.
dash of sugar, salt & pepper
crushed red pepper flakes, to taste. and optional. ( i don't use very much if i know my kids will eat this too)
3/4 cups (6 0z) crumbled blue cheese
3/4 cups heavy cream. ( i substitute & use the Philadelphia cooking cream, 1 container of the original flavor)
4 cups baby spinach
half and half (for thinning, you could also use milk)
extra blue cheese crumbles, for garnish. (i don't always do this)

( forgive me for the picture overload. normally, i place all the ingredients together & take one picture. but i forgot, so i had to go back & do it later.)

normally, i use organic diced tomatoes. but i already had these in the pantry. the original calls for you to drain them but i've found that if you don't, you will be able to use little/no half & half which will cut down on calories

this cooking cream is SO much better than heavy cream. much more flavor!

love fresh garlic. but you can use garlic salt.

yum. love spinach.

notice this cheese is reduced fat. it really helps cut down on the calories. i use 1.5 of these containers of cheese. you could also substitute milk for half & half.

cook pasta according to package instructions.

drizzle olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. add minced garlic & cook for a minute. add tomatoes. add sugar, salt, pepper & crushed red pepper flakes to taste. simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

reduce heat to low. stir in crumbled blue cheese & allow it to melt.

so cheesy. yummo.

add in the philadelphia cooking cream (or heavy cream, if you prefer). allow it to melt into the sauce. if sauce is too thick, stir in a little half & half or milk. or you can reserve the juice from the diced tomatoes & use that. whatever you like! i've done all 3 & it tastes about the same.

the original recipe says to add the spinach at the VERY last minute of cooking the sauce. but, i've found that it actually takes the spinach several minutes to cook down. so, i add the spinach to my boiling pasta water at the last couple minutes. it cooks down much faster.

give the spinach about 2-3 minutes in the pasta water, stirring occasionally. once it has started to shrink down, drain the pasta & the spinach together.

can you see the spinach?!

add the spinach & pasta to the tomato sauce.

stir it all together! and, voila! so so so yummy.

doesn't this look so good?! it is so rich & creamy. you will love it. trust me!

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