Garlicky Four Cheese Spaghetti

If I could marry garlic… I might. My love affair with the bulb is that strong. No pun intended. Oh k… pun intended!

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When I read a pasta that promises a garlic punch, I can’t say anything other than “Go on…”. As I was mindlessly spending way too much time on Instagram this weekend, a particular dish caught my eye. Julia’s Album boasted a Creamy Four Cheese Garlic Spaghetti Sauce that looked divine. I made slight modifications, but ultimately, stayed true to her recipe. I used a cast iron skillet which did wonders for the flavor.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
10 garlic cloves, minced
8 oz spaghetti
1 cup cooked pasta water
1 chicken bullion cube
1 cup heavy cream
1 and 1/2 cups of Four-Cheese Italian White Cheese Blend (Mozzarella, White Cheddar, Provolone, Asiago are the standards; I used half that blend, and then split the remaining 3/4 of a cup between blue cheese and goat cheese for a pungent kick)
parsley or chives or green onions, finely chopped
0.75lb chicken breat tenders (optional)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
pepper to taste

If you decide to add the chicken, you will need a couple tablespoons of flour and some more olive oil. Let’s tackle this chicken first. Simply place 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium sized pan and get hot. In the meantime, pat chicken tender pieces in the flour to coat the outside of the chicken. This will help the creamy sauce stick to it. Once coated, cook chicken almost all the way through in the pan. The chicken will not color much. Chop chicken and place to the side.

Cook pasta per directions on the box and drain. Make sure to reserve some of cooked pasta water. Place pasta water in a bowl and dissolve 1 cube of chicken broth bullion in it.

Heat olive oil and butter on medium heat in a large skillet, add minced garlic and cook on low for about 1 minute on medium heat, without burning. Your kitchen should get fragrant and the garlic should just begin to color.

Once the garlic gets to that point, add the pasta water/chicken broth mixture, heavy cream, and chicken to the skillet. Simmer for 2 minutes. Next, add the cooked spaghetti to the skillet, stirring to coat the pasta. Bring to boil, and keep stirring. Once the liquids are boiling, add cheese and stir everything together until incorporated. Reduce to a simmer. This may take 1-3 minutes depending on your cheese blend.

Continue to cook, constantly stirring, to thicken the sauce. If you want to add some heat to the dish, this would be the time to add the chili flakes. Just so they have enough time to permeate the pasta without being too overwhelming.

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To serve, top each serving with finely chopped chives, or green onions, or parsley.

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