Customizable Creamy Veggie Pasta

Have you heard of Philadelphia Cream Cheese’s Cooking Creme. I just want you to know, it’s so fancy, it’s a creme–not a cream. It’s like they made your grandma’s trick of adding cream cheese to anything already tasty even more accessible  You see it in the store and think, “Yes, I’ll pay extra for cream cheese with herbs because, wow, what great marketing.” Not you? Just me? Ok, fine.

Philadelphia Cooking Creme Italian Cheese and Herb

(source)

I made this dish this weekend, and Sean and I both agreed that it was pretty tasty. The best part? You can use what you have on hand or what you like to make this customized to your taste or your dietary needs.

Ingredients:

  • 2 servings worth of pasta of your choice (I used whole wheat spaghetti)
  • Onion of your choosing, diced (We had shallots, but try sweet vidalia, red, chives, green–it’s up to you!)
  • Garlic, diced
  • 2 medium sized (maybe a little on the small side) tomatoes, diced
  • Veggies of your choice, diced–be creative and try to eat the rainbow. We used 1/4 a red pepper, two carrots, a few mushrooms–our dish as very red/orange! You could try adding spinach, yellow or green bell peppers, broccoli, edamame, potatoes, zucchini, yellow squash–whatever you’d like!
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water (SAVE IT!)
  • Philadelphia Cooking Creme–flavor of your choice (we used Italian Herb). You could always just use regular cream cheese and add herbs & spices in yourself, too. 🙂
  • Optional Toppings: toasted pine nuts, grated Parmesan cheese, whatever else you like!

Directions:

  1. Boil your water for noodles with a little salt (just a sprinkle) and a drip or two of olive oil (we just started trying Bragg’s cold pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil–beautiful color!). Add in your noodles when water’s ready.
  2. Meanwhile, coat a medium-large pan with a little olive oil, and on medium heat cook onions and garlic until fragrant.
  3. Add in your diced tomatoes and other hard veggies, saute until they’re the texture you like (some people like ’em soft, I like mine a little crunchy). Turn heat to medium-low.
  4. Season with whatever you like–oregano, parsley, garlic salt, salt and pepper. Try to use Italian-y spices–do not use thing like cilantro, coriander, curry powder. I’m including this for my cooking-challenged friends (you know who you are ;)).
  5. Add the 1/4 to 1/2 reserved noodle water (depending on how liquidy you like your sauce) to the veggie pan, and a few spoonfuls of the Philadelphia Cooking Creme (depending on how flavory, saucy, etc.) you like your veggies. We used 1/4 C noodle water and about 2 heaping spoonfuls of cooking cream.
  6. Stir until saucy and let it bubble up a little to soak into the veggies (maybe for 1-2 mins).
  7. Place noodle portion in a bowl, spoon veggie sauce over the top, add your desired toppings, and enjoy!
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