GINNA PARSONS: Pasta entree light, creamy



I often purchase baguettes at Simply Sweet by Margarete on South Green Street to use for sandwiches or dipping bread or garlic bread. When I brought home two recently, my husband claimed one, saying he wanted to make bruschetta as an appetizer. That left me to figure out an Italian-type of entree to follow.

I went to my trusty Internet and found a recipe on Cooking Light’s website for a simple, but delicious pasta dish. I had everything at home to make this but the mascarpone.

I have to admit I’d never had this rich Italian cheese before, but I found it at Kroger. (If you can’t find it at a store near you, see the substitute recipe at the end of this column.)

The mascarpone is decadent – thank heaven there’s only a tablespoon and a half in the recipe. This pasta dish is creamy but light; it will leave you satisfied without feeling guilty.

I served this with arugula salad and grilled chicken cutlets, but you could easily forego the chicken and make this a meatless meal.

Linguine with Two-Cheese Sauce

8 ounces uncooked linguine

1 cup 1 percent low-fat milk

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, divided

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1⁄8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1⁄2 cup shaved fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided

11⁄2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese*

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain; keep warm.

While pasta cooks, combine milk, 2 teaspoons basil, salt, and pepper in a bowl; stir milk mixture with a whisk.

Heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add flour to pan, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add milk mixture; cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, and add 6 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano and the mascarpone cheese. Add cheese mixture to pasta; toss to combine. Sprinkle with remaining 4 teaspoons basil and remaining 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Serves 4.

*Note: If you can’t find mascarpone cheese, this is a good substitution: Blend 8 ounces full-fat cream cheese, 1⁄4 cup whipping cream and 2 tablespoons full-fat sour cream together. (You’ll have a bunch leftover.)

Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.

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