Creamy & Spicy Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta

Creamy & Spicy Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta

Alright, guys. Let’s talk about pasta.

It’s a glorious thing, right? Chewy, carby goodness.

Growing up, we had pasta for dinner on a semi-regular basis. My older brother hated it, which to this day I’ll never understand. I thought he was crazy. It was always my favorite meal. I remember sneaking forkfuls of spaghetti from the colander in the sink, right after my mom drained it while she was getting the rest of the meal ready. Just plain, sticky noodles. Now that’s love.

But now I’m all grown up, and doing my best to be a healthy grown-up at that. Balance. Control. Moderation. These can be tricky roads to navigate when certain foods have a hold on your heart — and I’ll admit, carbs are my kryptonite. I’d eat them almost exclusively if I could. Add to that pasta’s panache for being the perfect, perfect vehicle for cheese, my one true love, and it can sometimes feel like resistance is futile.

 

 

But over time, I’ve come to find that that’s okay. Go ahead resistance, be futile. I don’t have it in me to live a life of denial, and as it turns out, I don’t have to. A life without pasta just doesn’t seem fair — and don’t even get me started on cheese. All it takes is some moderation and keeping things simple, clean, and light to absolve a little pasta indulgence now and then. And that’s exactly what this recipe does.

I made this for myself on a Saturday night after a crazy long week. Warm and comforting, it hit me in all the right spots. When a meal can do that, you know you’ve found something. The bright sun-dried tomatoes are simply amazing, and the light sauce still has that creamy, cheesy goodness to take care of your craving without going overboard.

Creamy & Spicy Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta

1/2 pound spaghetti
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (about 5). I used fresh, which I recommend. You can use the oil-packed variety, but they’re not quite as healthy).
3/4 cup fat-free milk
1/4 cup low-fat or fat-free cream cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Fresh basil, chopped, for topping

In a large pasta pot, bring salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti to al dente.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté garlic and red pepper flakes in olive oil for about 2 minutes. Add sun-dried tomatoes and continue to cook about 2 minutes more.

Add milk, cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Cook until slightly reduced and creamy, about 5 minutes.

Drain pasta and immediately transfer to sauce. Work in and cook until fully incorporated and pasta is evenly coated with sauce.

Serve topped with freshly chopped basil.