Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Pasta a la Philly

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!


Laura said...

Sweet delicious food Christina! That is beautiful! Is that your Christmas present at work there? Great photo.

I'm so glad you guys liked it as much as we did. We ate leftovers this weekend and when the littlest boy saw his dad going for the leftovers he refused to eat his lunch and demanded this!

Honestly good food.

Anonymous said...

I just want to take the fork from the picture and put it in my mouth! It looks THAT delicious:) Definitely trying this!

Nowheymama said...

We made this for dinner using Better Than Cream Cheese. Yummy!

Spiceaholic said...

That looks amazingly decadent! Yum!

Jenn@slim-shoppin said...

Oh Ma Ga! That looks so good! I have never added cream cheese to pasta sauce, but now I will!

It's so funny that their regular cream cheese has whey when the reduced fat doesn't!

Christina said...

I've already heard from three people that they made it yesterday and loved it. Have heard from four more that they have it on their plans for this upcoming week! It's a great "secret ingredient."

I agree, Jenn. The funny thing is that Jewel brand is the opposite - their reduced fat has whey, but the regular doesn't!

Anonymous said...

Company worthy for sure! And so easy!!

I've added fat free half and half to my sauces to make them creamy - and like Jenn, I never thought of it!!

Christo Gonzales said...

this looks soooooo creamy and delicious - I am using the cream cheese secret from now on!

sophia said...

Holy COW!! Holy Pasta Holy cheese!!! I love love love it! Mara is a genius! Love the tangy creaminess in there!

A@ Please Don't Eat Me! said...

oh goodness.... must be trying this with my tofutti "cream cheese" i think that would add some great flavor to my pasta.. whoooooo nice idea girl!

whatkateate said...

definitely added that to my must-make-list! yum!