When Sunday rolled around last week, we needed something easy and quick for dinner. After all, that week, we’d put up peaches, baked bread, made granola, made peach cake, and more. It was time for a well-deserved break. Now, that doesn’t mean that we head out for something from the freezer case at the store. Oh, no. We’ve learned that the stuff in the freezer case is often just as much trouble as a simple meal, only nowhere near as good as something we could scratch up. But what?
Well, we always have flour on hand, so that could be turned into pasta. Then we had some cream just sitting in the refrigerator waiting to be used. Ah, cream sauces are really easy, but what kind of cream sauce? Looking out our window, we noticed the basil plants were growing like gangbusters. And that settled it.
Since you have so few ingredients, use the best you can. Take the extra 20 minutes out of your day to make the pasta. It’s worth it. Use heavy cream, and the freshest basil you can find. We’re lucky ours is growing so well that we were able to pick it just minutes before using. And Parmesan, of course, does not come in green shaker cans. Flour, you’ll note, we didn’t specify; use any kind that you have on hand. We used whole wheat.
Procedure in detail:
Make a roux. Basically, cook the flour and butter together for about 10 minutes over medium-low heat. You want to cook it for a while, or your sauce will taste like flour, or wallpaper paste, which is sub-optimal. Make sure to stir the roux while you cook it; burnt roux isn’t very good, either.
Add cream. Add the cream in three additions and stir to combine completely before adding more cream. This helps to prevent lumps in your sauce. Lumpy sauce isn’t that good. Once you’ve added all the cream, bring to a simmer to allow the sauce to thicken, then remove from the heat for 3 minutes or so.
Add basil and cheese. We want the sauce to cool down just a bit before adding the cheese; otherwise, there’s a chance that the sauce will “break” or separate. We’ve had that happen before,and it’s not good, either. Wow! It sounds as if a lot can go wrong, doesn’t it? Don’t worry. Nothing will go wrong with yours.
Serve over linguine. Sometime in there, you should have boiled up your linguine. If you didn’t realize that, sorry. Anyway, drain the linguine well, divide between two large bowls, and pour your basil cream sauce over. Finally, add a garnish of basil leaves and a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese.
We think the only way this could have been better was if it had more fresh basil. Using heavy cream in cooking makes everything taste special, but, we also know that it isn’t the best thing in the world, nutrition-wise, so we don’t have it all that often. But, when we do, we really go all out, as in this dish. Sure, we could have used part cream and part milk, or half-and-half, but it wouldn’t have been anywhere near as good. This is definitely a five star dish.