We're officially a week into Summer Vacation and like I mentioned yesterday, I'm madly in love. Summer in Cheyenne is just about perfect. The weather stays pretty mild; thanks to the cold desert nights and a gentle breeze that never stops blowing. And as a fun perk, the town comes alive with little nifty things to do every week.
During the Summer, I tend to cook quite a few pasta dishes. Our house has zero, zip, nada A/C so blasting the oven at 350 for an hour is NOT on my list of favorite Summer activities. Unless there's going to be chocolate involved. Then I make sacrifices.
While I do love a good batch of spaghetti and meatballs or macaroni n' cheese, I like to switch it up a bit in the pasta department. This particular recipe is one I dreamed up one evening when I needed something fast for dinner and wanted to put a twist on the classic Alfredo sauce.
I keep grilled chicken breasts in my freezer (just make a double batch next time you're grilling!) and decided they would be perfect on top of my pasta. However, if "you don't eat no meat" (name that movie!) you could skip adding the chicken on top and stick with the delicious tomato oregano alfredo sauce all on its own.
First I start off by sauteing minced garlic in butter over medium heat. Then I whisk in flour. And pour in milk. Whisk while continuing to cook the sauce for 3-5 more minutes.
Then I grab a handful of fire roasted tomatoes (you can use fresh tomatoes if you want) and chop them up.
Add to the sauce, along with dried oregano, a bit of salt and a few dashes of black pepper.
Then I whisk in cream cheese. It looks like a lot here. But it's actually only 2 ounces.
Serve over cooked pasta.
You can add pine nuts and some sliced grilled chicken breasts on top if that makes you as happy as it made me.
You could even throw a little parmesan cheese on top if you want to. Go crazy!
Tomato and Oregano Alfredo Sauce
Yields enough for about 1 lb. of pasta
1 tbsp. butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. flour
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup fire-roasted tomatoes, minced
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
2 oz. cream cheese
salt and pepper, to taste
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add garlic and saute for a minute or two. Whisk in flour, cook for another minute to get rid of the "floury" taste. Pour in milk; continue to cook and whisk for another 3-5 minutes until the sauce starts to thicken.
Add tomatoes, oregano and cream cheese. Whisk until the cream cheese is melted. Season with a bit of salt and pepper.