Thursday, February 23, 2012

Penne with Basil and Red Pepper Cream Sauce

Wow, it was a glorious day in East Tennessee today.  Sunny blue skies and 70+ degrees, hard to believe it is still winter.    But the LACK of fresh herbs in my front yard reminds me, yes, it is still winter, dude. 

Here is the pasta recipe that went with the chicken the other day.  Since I don't have any fresh basil, I used Gourmet Garden's Basil Herb blend.  I never tried it before but tasting it straight from the tube, it is not as good as fresh but it is 10 times better than dried basil.  

I learned something while making this dish.  If you try to say "shallot and garlic" and stumble over your tongue, it becomes "Charlotte".  

Penne with Basil and Red Pepper Cream Sauce
source:  NibbleMeThis

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 small shallot, finely diced
  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1/4 cup Gourmet Garden Basil herb blend*
  • 1/4 cup roasted red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup pasta water
  • 3 cups penne pasta (uncooked)
  1. Cook pasta according to directions.
  2. In a preheated saute pan over medium high heat, melt the butter and saute the shallot and garlic 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the flour, stirring continuously to form a blond roux.
  4. Whisk in cream and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the basil and red bell pepper.
  6. Use the pasta water as needed to think the sauce.
  7. Toss the pasta in with the cream sauce and serve. 
  • According to the package, 1 Tbsp of basil paste = 1 Tbsp of chopped fresh basil, so when it's Summer again and fresh basil is growing in your yard, you can just use 1/4 cup of fresh basil.

Anyone else have the urge to go walk barefoot in grass?

[Standard Disclaimer]  I paid full price for the basil paste and have no affiliation with Gourmet Garden.  


  1. I've never tried an herb paste. I always thought they sounded too weird. However, after a few recently failed meals due to issues with gross dried herbs, I think I'm ready to try the paste! Lucky for me, I'm not too far from fresh herb season here in my own garden. Have a great night, Chris!

  2. I don't mean to rub it in, but I can walk barefoot in the grass all year!! Sorry.. but when it's 115 here you can get me back!! :)
    I am loving this pasta recipe.. simple and full of flavor! Love the sauce of course!!

  3. This pasta looks all kinds of delicious! I'm going to steal your method for cream sauce.

  4. Great looking dish. That's good to know about the tube product. I've never bought it. I have one poor little Rosemary plant that's managed to survive indoors, but the rest of my herbs gave up.

  5. I'm totally not a meat person but I am looking forward to trying this recipe one day...sans chicken!


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