Pasta In Basil Cream Sauce is a delectable way to enjoy pasta, the beloved of many. It makes for a great change from the usual pasta cooked in white sauce or red sauce. It is creamy and decadent, a real treat to the senses with the fragrance of fresh basil. Today, I am going to share with you all the recipe for Pasta In Basil Cream Sauce, the way I make it.
A closer look at Pasta In Basil Cream Sauce
As the name suggests, Pasta In Basil Cream Sauce or Basil Cream Sauce Pasta refers to pasta cooked in a creamy basil sauce. However, there is no actual cream used in my version. I have used very little cheese here, too.
I start by making a regular white sauce (with whole wheat flour and milk), to which I add my home-made Peanut Basil Pesto. This combination gives the pasta a creamy, rich finish, without actually having to use any fresh cream. There are a few other ingredients I add in, too, to suit my family’s tastebuds.
Like I was saying earlier, this is one delicious pasta dish, a delight to indulge in. It’s a family favourite! I wouldn’t say this is the healthiest thing ever, but I would still consider this a relatively healthy dish because I make all the components at home. I can control the quality and quantity of every single thing that goes into it.
#PastaPlease theme at Foodie Monday Blog Hop
I am sharing this recipe in association with the Foodie Monday Blog Hop.
The Foodie Monday Blog Hop is a group of passionate food bloggers who share recipes based on a pre-determined theme, every Monday. It was my turn to suggest the theme this week, and I chose #PastaPlease. Group members will be showcasing recipes for different types of pasta, as part of the theme.
I already have a few pasta recipes on my blog, like this Two-Sauce Pasta made using home-made Basil And Pumpkin Seed Pesto, this beautiful Pasta Arrabiatta, Spaghetti Aglio Olio, Beetroot Pasta Salad and Indian-Style Pasta Stir-Fry. For this week’s theme, I decided to share this Basil Cream Sauce Pasta, which I make frequently but have never had a chance to write about on the blog.
How to make Basil Cream Sauce Pasta
Here is how I make it.
Ingredients (serves 3):
1. 2 cups pasta
2. Salt to taste
3. 1 teaspoon + 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
4. 5-6 cloves of garlic
5. 2 tablespoons wheat flour
6. 2 cups of milk
7. 2 tablespoons basil pesto + some more, as needed for garnishing
8. 1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
9. 1 tablespoon red chilli sauce
10. Freshly cracked black pepper, as needed (optional)
11. Dried Italian herbs, as needed for garnishing
- Cook the pasta as per the instructions on the package. I took 5 cups of water in a heavy-bottomed pan, placed it on high flame, and allowed it to come to a boil. Then I added in 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon of olive oil, along with the 2 cups of pasta. After this, I reduced the flame to medium and let the pasta cook for 5-6 minutes or till it reached the al dente stage – cooked through but not overly mushy, with some crunch still left in it.
- While the pasta is cooking, peel the garlic cloves and chop them finely. Keep ready.
- When the pasta is cooked al dente, drain out the water using a colander. You may reserve the pasta cooking water for later use. Run cold water over the cooked pasta immediately, to stop it from cooking further. Let it rest undisturbed for a while and allow all the water to drain out of it.
4. Now, we will start preparing the Basil Cream Sauce Pasta. For this, heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in a dry, clean pan. Drop in the chopped garlic. Saute for a few seconds till the garlic turns aromatic.
5. At this stage, turn the flame down to medium and add in the wheat flour. Saute on medium flame for a couple of minutes or till the wheat flour turns fragrant and attains the consistency of wet sand. Take care to ensure that the flour does not burn.
6. Now, add the milk to the pan, little by little, stirring constantly to prevent lumps from forming. Keep the flame still at medium. Mix well. Cook for about 2 minutes or till the milk starts thickening.
7. Add in salt to taste.
8. Add in the freshly cracked black pepper, followed by the basil pesto, tomato ketchup and red chilli sauce. Mix well. Taste and adjust salt, the pesto and spiciness. Constantly stirring, cook on medium flame for a minute or so until the mixture thickens up well – your basil cream sauce is ready.
9. Add in the pasta at this stage. Mix gently but well, coating the pasta evenly with the pesto cream sauce. Let everything cook together on medium flame for a minute more, then switch off the gas.
10. Gently mix in the dried Italian herbs. Your Basil Cream Sauce Pasta is ready.
11. Transfer the pasta into serving bowls. Serve immediately, topped with some more of the basil pesto.
Tips & Tricks
- I have used shell-shaped pasta from Bambino here, which is made using durum wheat. You can use any type of pasta that you prefer.
- You may use refined flour (maida) instead of the wheat flour I have used here.
- I have used Heinz tomato ketchup and Ching’s red chilli sauce here. You may use any other brands of sauces that you prefer, instead.
- If you feel the spiciness from the red chilli sauce is enough, you may skip using the black pepper. I did use some black pepper, though. If you are using black pepper, I would highly recommend using it freshly cracked rather than a pre-packaged powdered version.
- I have used home-made basil pesto here. However, you may use a store-bought version to save some time. Also, you can use any other variety of pesto instead.
- I have used boiled and cooled full-fat milk from Nandini here, to make the pasta sauce. I have not tried making this with vegan milk, so I’m not sure how that works. The pesto I have used here is not vegan either.
- Adjust the quantities of pesto, black pepper, tomato ketchup and red chilli sauce as per personal taste preferences.
- Be careful while adding salt to the pasta sauce. Remember that the pasta has already been cooked with some salt. There is also some amount of salt in the pesto, as well as in the tomato ketchup and red chilli sauce.
- Do remember to cook the pasta al dente i.e. till it is cooked through but not mushy, still with a bit of a crunch to it. Remember that it will cook further in the sauce.
- This Basil Cream Sauce Pasta is best served immediately after making it. If you need to wait for some time before serving it, there are chances that the pasta might get very thick. In that case, heat it up with a splash of milk to make it runny again.
- You may use some fresh cream to make the pasta more flavourful and creamy. However, I have not used any here.
- Olive oil works best in the making of pesto and pasta. I have used extra virgin olive oil from Borges in both the pasta and the pesto.
- I like the light tang that the tomato ketchup and red chilli sauce add to the pasta. If you feel these ingredients have no place in a pasta dish, please do feel free to leave them out.
- Add the salt, tomato ketchup and red chilli sauce to the pan only after the milk has thickened up a bit. This will help keep the milk from splitting.
- You may add some grated cheese to the pasta too, if you prefer. I haven’t, because the pesto already contains some amount of cheese.
Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!