There is no steadfast rule that states pasta must be topped with tomato sauce. To prove it, take a look at my Spaghetti in Cream Cheese Sauce with Mushrooms and Tomatoes – so delicious, so creamy, and very family friendly!
A few weeks ago, I was on a cream cheese craze. I tend to use one particular ingredient over and over again at certain times. The reason for this varies – sometimes I’m really craving that individual food item, and sometimes it’s because I have an abundance of it in my fridge or pantry because I’ve managed to hit a great grocery sale! For this particular recipe, Spaghetti in Cream Cheese Sauce with Mushrooms and Tomatoes, cream cheese was the sale item and I had already purchased three packages of it.
A few Saturday’s ago, I needed to make something for dinner that was quick and easy. John.e never says no to pasta, so I grabbed what I needed from the pantry to whip up dinner. But, as luck would have it, I had nothing I needed to make a tomato sauce. I thought of making mac and cheese instead, but that’s a longer process and I really didn’t have the time. Since I knew I had cream cheese and pasta on hand, I decided to make a cream cheese-based pasta sauce. Spaghetti in Cream Cheese Sauce with Mushrooms and Tomatoes was born and we haven’t looked back!
I always have vegetables on hand – the vegetarian likes to have go-to items that he can grab in a hurry, and he always likes to have zucchini or mushrooms, tomatoes and broccoli, etc., just in case he’s adventurous enough to prepare his version of a veggie frittata. So, I stole his tomatoes and mushrooms to add some freshness and flavour to this dish.
It was such a creamy pasta with just the right amount of saltiness from the cream cheese, and a deep woody/meaty flavour from the sautéed mushrooms. The tomatoes added a bite of freshness and acidity – overall, this pasta dish was a winner! When cooking the mushrooms, I tend to cook them longer than needed for two reasons. First, I find that a mushroom that has been sauteed in butter for a longer period of time takes on a meatier texture, which is always favourable to this meat-eater.
Secondly, it removed a lot of the water content from the mushrooms which creates a less watery cream cheese sauce. And, in addition, the colour looks so much better than those half-cooked, grayish coloured mushrooms you often see on a pizza or in a stir fry. Yuck. Not only am I always concerned with taste and texture in my dishes, but colour is always vitally important since we eat with our eyes first.
I like to serve Spaghetti in Cream Cheese Sauce with Mushrooms and Tomatoes family style. Take a look at these photos. I have piled the entire dish high into one of my favourite pasta bowls, and served it up just as is. Everyone can grab a bowl and fill it up to their heart’s content. Even though I do love a nice table setting, and I love to portion out plates for my family and guests, there’s something really comforting and stress-less about serving a dinner family style.
I think pasta dishes lend itself to family style settings more than other dishes. Most pasta dishes are the scoop and plate sort of recipes, so it makes it’ much easier. Go on, Dear Reader, save your good table settings and organization for that fancy Sunday dinner. For now, just get this dish on the table and watch how fast your loved ones gobble it up.
In a hurry? Save this recipe to your Pinterest board for later!
Spaghetti and Cream Cheese Sauce with Mushrooms and Tomatoes
- 450 grams spaghetti, cooked and drained
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup milk
- 6 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup parsley, chopped, plus more for garnish
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for garnish
Begin by sautéing the mushrooms in butter over medium heat. Once browned, remove from pan and set aside.
Add the olive oil and the onions to the sauté pan and cook until onions are slightly caramelized. Add the minced garlic and sauté for two more minutes.
While you are preparing the onions, cook the pasta according to the package instructions; drain and set aside.
Add the softened cream cheese to the onions and garlic. Using a wooden spoon, stir until the cheese is melted.
Add the milk and stir until the milk and cream cheese are combined. Stir in the salt and pepper.
Add the mushrooms back to the sauté pan. Add the cooked pasta as well. Toss to combine.
Once the pasta is well coated and reheated (approximately 2 minutes) add the chopped tomatoes, parmesan, and parsley. Toss once again.
Garnish with parmesan and parsley. Serve immediately.
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