Last week Laura of Hey What's for Dinner, Mom? posted a pasta recipe with a secret ingredient: Philadelphia cream cheese!
After reading her praises and the fact that her son had three platefuls, I decided to give it a go too! It's super quick for weeknight meals, cooking in the time it takes the pasta to boil! It also scores convenient points with just 5 easy ingredients most of us already have on hand!
The original recipe can be found here, but I made the same changes Laura did (proof that great minds think alike!). Both of us chose to forego ground beef and use homemade sausage. Laura used her homegrown/homemade turkey/duck/goose sausage and I used loose sweet Italian sausage. (My dad made us 15 more pounds while he was here for Christmas, so we're set for another few months!) We also both opted to use a shorter pasta choice instead of spaghetti.
16 oz. box of rigatoni
1 pound sausage (or ground meat of choice)
26 oz. jar of pasta sauce (or 3 cups homemade)
4 oz. (1/2 box) of Philly cream cheese, cut in cubes
Parmesan cheese to top, optional
While the pasta water is coming up to a boil brown the meat in a separate large skillet. Once the meat is cooked through, cook pasta according to directions on the package. Add the sauce and cream cheese (we used 1/3 less fat Philadelphia because their regular contains whey) to the skillet and stir to combine with the meat until the cheese is melted. Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet, tossing everything to coat. Serve with Parmesan cheese on top, if desired. Serves 4-5.
Honestly, I was surprised at how good this was! Johnny wandered into the kitchen to help me brown the sausage and ended up staying while the sauce was created. When he saw I was going to be adding the cream cheese he said a quiet "cooool." After a few bites he agreed it's crazy how big of a difference just adding cream cheese makes.
If you like vodka sauce, you'll like this. It's still very "tomatoey," just with a creamy goodness. You won't be able to put a finger on it, it doesn't taste "cream cheesy," just smooth and more "special" than your normal sauce. I would serve this dish to company it's that good!