Speaking of cream cheese ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

09 January 2010

Speaking of cream cheese

Man, I love cream cheese. I especially love it when mashed with something else, such as lots of fresh chopped herbs, or the previously mentioned avocado. So the other day I decided I needed to mash it up with pasta sauce.

Cream cheese and greens pasta

olive oil
red pepper
kale/other greens
cream cheese
basil, oregano
salt, pepper
cavatappi/other pasta

Cook the pasta at an appropriate point, as you know.

Chop up some garlic and sauté in a reasonable pan. When it's softened, add a handful of chunked or sliced mushrooms and one of chopped red pepper. Mix it all up to get the oil distributed, add a pinch of salt to express out the juice, and cook together for a few minutes.

In the meantime, bust out your tomato. I had whole canned tomatoes, so I diced up maybe three of them; you can use whatever. When the mushrooms have cooked down a bit, add your tomato to the pan. I added some juice from the can as well. Season with basil, oregano, salt, pepper, and possibly some hot pepper flake or what have you. Let it all cook, adding water if it gets too dry, for at least five minutes or so.

If you haven't put on the pasta yet, do it now.

Wash a handful of kale, cut the leaves off the stalks, and chop them up. I think I may have gotten a leaf or two or mustard greens in, since we had both. Use more greens than you think you want, since they reduce; I used enough to completely cover my entire cutting board. Add the greens to your cooked sauce (along with a splash of water if things look dry; you want this medium-wet) and let them wilt. Since I was using kale, this took five minutes; softer greens like spinach or chard will take barely any time at all.

When everything is cooked, take the pan off the heat and mix in several big chunks of cream cheese. It will totally melt into the sauce, creating awesomeness. If this addition makes your sauce too thick, add a little of your pasta water and mix.

Now you can either use it immediately or puree it with a stick blender. I roughly pureed mine because I like that kind of thing.

Drain your cooked pasta, mix it with the sauce, and eat, fresh herbs optional. Our windowsill herbs are still producing, shockingly enough, so I added some basil.

For thorough cheese overload you can throw some grated parmesan or other decent grating cheese over your bowl, but I don't know that I quite endorse that one.

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