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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Creamy Garlic Shells

I've noticed that I rarely post recipes for side dishes. I guess it's because I'm always so focused on the main dish. It might also be because we usually eat the same sides with every meal I make.

Awhile back I found this recipe on Iowa Girl Eats for a simple substitute for the boxed macaroni and cheese we usually eat. The first time I made it I knew I was hooked. The sauce is creamy, mildly cheesy, and has just the right amount of garlickiness. Yes, I'm making that a word now. The combination of grated Parmesan and sauteed garlic reminds me a bit of Alfredo sauce, which is high on my list of favorite things.

I made this once when I first found the recipe and loved it, but it's been about six months since we've had it. Since I was cooking for Yaya and Nana this week I thought I would pull out one of my homemade pasta sides instead of making something out of a package and it turned out so well I just had to make it again tonight. I think Aaron would still rather have his Velveeta, but I much prefer this alternative.

Creamy Garlic Shells

Source: Iowa Girl Eats

8 oz mini shells (you could probably use any small pasta shapes including elbow macaroni)
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp flour
3/4 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup milk (I used 2% but you could use whatever you have on hand)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated (I have used fresh Parmesan and the kind in the green can and they both work just fine)
2 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Cook your pasta according to the directions on the package, drain, and set aside.

In the same saucepan combine the butter and olive oil over medium heat until the butter is melted and they begin to sizzle a little. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the flour and whisk together until smooth.

Slowly add the chicken broth and milk, whisking to avoid any lumps. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking frequently until the sauce begins to thicken, about 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the Parmesan, parsley, and garlic powder.

Add the cooked pasta and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve warm.

So far this week I've served this with spiced roasted pork tenderloin and tonight with pineapple and lime marinated chicken. Both times it was a fabulous addition to the meal.

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