Apart from Aglio Olio, W’s other favourite style of pasta is when it’s in a cream sauce. But this was something I discovered only a couple of weeks back. It goes without saying that I put together my best possible rendition of a cream sauce pasta dish for her soon after making my little discovery. If I dare to say so myself, I think this recipe’s a keeper, one for the books. Read on to find out how you can make a cream sauce pasta dish without cream, yes you saw that right, without cream. And without butter as well. Purists would kill me, I know, but hey, cooking’s all about improvisation isn’t it?
Well, in all honestly, this recipe came to me some time after that faithful day W taught me a whole lot about making a roux. (Ssh! Don’t tell, but that day marked the official beginning of my obsession with food and cooking too.) It may seem like common sense, but it certainly wasn’t so common to me then, that there were many different ways of making a sauce, making a roux as a means of thickening a sauce being one of them. Eventually I worked out that combining fat and flour and adding it to a sauce can be stripped down to a simple thickening of liquid with a starch. While this might not work with all sauces or gravies, I’m convinced it works as a great hassle-free lean alternative as compared to its traditional counterpart, which comprises butter and cream. No mucking about with making a roux separately, flour and milk are the only two components required to make the sauce work (plus a bit of oil).
Here’s how it’s done.
Prawn and kale garlic cream sauce spaghetti
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, sunflower or rapeseed is fine too
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced. I usually go with one clove per person
- 1 big handful shell-on prawns
- 2 handfuls shredded kale
- 4 mushrooms, thickly sliced
- 2 cups cold milk
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 portions long pasta
- salt and pepper, to season
- Cook the prawns as you would with mussels, in a single layer with a small amount of water. But do so over a gentle heat with the lid on, flipping at midpoint, and removing each piece once cooked. Save the cooking liquor for later and shell the cooked prawns.
- Set your pasta away to boil in a pot of well-salted water. Drain when pasta is al dente, which means a texture that is firm to the bite but cooked through and not chalky.
- Heat the oil in a skillet and fry the minced garlic till fragrant and almost golden.
- Toss in the kale and mushrooms, and soften with half a cup of the milk.
- Now comes the important bit. When the kale is done, take the pan off the hob and add the cold milk all at once, and add the flour right after in small consecutive amounts, mixing contantly. The reason for doing this is so that the flour doesn’t clump together in bits causing the sauce to be lumpy. Alternatively, you can mix the flour and milk together. However, I prefer the former because it allows me more control with the amounts of milk and flour, should there be a need to change the consistency.
- Add the cooking liquor and reduce the sauce slightly and season with salt and black pepper.
- The sauce should be able to coat the back of a spoon lightly, if it is too thick, add more milk. If it is too thin, add more flour, one pinch at a time.
- Add the drained pasta and peeled prawns and combine well.
- Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly before serving
I’m a big fan of peeling the prawns as I eat them so I usually leave the shelling fun for the dining table. If you’re not weird like me, there’s no harm in using frozen shelled prawns in this recipe as well!
Also, here’s the very awesome collectable recipe card we’ve done up for you!