Creamy Tuscan Pasta Sauce {Quick 20-Minute Dinner}

This creamy Tuscan pasta sauce is really delicious. And the fact that it is made from scratch and comes together in 20-minutes is a huge bonus.

Quick Tuscan Pasta Sauce

Raise your hand if being able to make dinner in 20 minutes fills your heart with joy?

Now that the weather is {finally} warming up and we are spending more time outside remembering what fresh air feels like, dinner prep is being cut to a minimum.

I love my kids. I want to serve them dinner.

But generally, I refuse to be stuck inside slaving over dinner while they are outside romping freely.

Granted, I’m usually planted on the porch steps holding the little one and not even coming close to romping, but I still don’t want to be inside cooking, especially since in my neck of the woods, a raging blizzard of snow and ice could still appear any minute and we have to take advantage of the warmth (i.e. above 35 degrees).

Enter the season of quick meals.

Considering the fact that my children weep-in-a-good-way when I make our go-to Creamy Garlic Alfredo Sauce, I decided it was high time to change it up with a little variation or two.

Tuscan pasta sauce it is! Which is basically a fancy and probably non-authentic way to say basil and sun-dried tomatoes have been thrown in.

Quick Tuscan Pasta Sauce

This is delicious as is, but toss a few chopped, fresh tomatoes on top and a bit of fresh basil and it is pure pasta heaven.

If you are looking for more of a complete meal, we’ve added cooked chicken and it is as good or better than any sun-dried tomato sauce dish I’ve ordered at a restaurant.

Admittedly that’s been a while since I live in the land-of-no-restaurants (unless you consider Subway and Pizza Ranch fine dining), but basically what I’m saying is, this pasta sauce is really delicious.

And the fact that it is made from scratch and comes together in 20-minutes is like huge bonus of the year.

Quick Tuscan Pasta Sauce

One Year Ago: Brown Sugar Crackle Cookies
Two Years Ago: Cheesy Au Gratin Potatoes
Three Years Ago: Honey Lime Fruit Salad

Creamy Tuscan Pasta Sauce

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Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried basil
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened and cut into 8 pieces
  • 8-ounce jar sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed, drained and chopped
  • 2 cups milk
  • 6 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, more to taste, if needed
  • Diced fresh tomatoes, fresh basil for topping (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a medium pot or skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly, taking care not to let the garlic burn. Stir in the dried basil. Add the cream cheese, stirring with a whisk until the mixture is smooth. It will look curdled at first, but with constant whisking for 2-3 minutes, it should come together to form a smooth, creamy paste. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes.
  2. Over medium heat, add the milk gradually, about 1/4 cup at a time, whisking quickly and constantly until each addition is incorporated fully into the sauce. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, pepper and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the cheese is melted and the sauce is the desired consistency, 5-10 minutes. Serve over hot, cooked noodles.

Notes:

This would be delicious with grilled or cooked chicken thrown into the mix. Also, you can use lowfat cream cheese and lowfat milk; the sauce is more creamy and smooth the higher fat content you go but I usually stick with 1% milk and less fat cream cheese and we love it. If you have fresh basil, scrap the dried basil and add in about 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil at the end of cooking (or do a combination of dried and fresh for maximum basil flavor). To maximize how quickly this meal comes together, start the noodles cooking at the same time you start the sauce.

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Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe