I don’t eat a ton of cream sauce, but every now and then, I get a craving for something super luxurious and decadent, and a creamy pasta always seems to fit that bill. As the name of this recipe suggests, I don’t really have a recipe for my cream sauce, but it turns out pretty great every single time, mostly because it starts with sautéed mushrooms (a personal fave of mine) and ends with heavy cream and Parmesan cheese (a few more of my go-to’s).
I’ve added measurements to this recipe to provide guidance, but these aren’t like, hard and fast amounts. I was inspired to make this last night with a few odds and ends I had hanging around in my fridge, and honestly I didn’t measure a thing. I had like, half a box of chicken stock left, some cheese in the back of my crisper, a package of mushrooms on its last leg and, of course, a box of trusty pasta in the back of my cabinet. I’ve made enough sauce to know how to make sauce, but I tried to pay closer attention to how much stuff I used so that I could generate something remotely resembling a recipe to reference in the future. This is what I came up with.
But first, a few notes about cream sauce:
- Thickening creamy sauces isn’t science, its art. Flour, butter and stock are how we get there, but where we end up is a matter of how much of these we use, and when:
- For the flour and butter: I suggest using a 1/4 cup of flour for 1/2 stick butter, but you can use a little less flour if you prefer a thinner sauce. The flour is our thickening agent, and I personally think an Alfredo-style sauce should be ultra luxurious and thick (or what’re we really doin’ here?), but so long as you use at least 2 tbsp of flour, your sauce will thicken up.
- For the stock: I added about a cup of stock before deciding to add more, and I suggest you do the same. The thing about sauce (and similarly, gravy) thickness is this: flour needs to be added before stock, or it will be lumpy, so the amount of flour you add can’t really be adjusted once you’ve started adding liquid. That’s why, if you’ve decided to use less than 1/4 cup of flour, you should also start with less than 1/4 cup of stock. Then, you can add as much stock as you like as the sauce cooks, depending on your desired thickness.
Creamy Mushroom Sauce
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 pckg sliced mushrooms
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 pinch dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1.5 cups chicken stock
- 1/4 cup cream
- 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan or Italian cheese blend
- 1 box angel hair pasta
Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized saute pan over medium heat and add the sliced mushrooms. Saute for about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms begin to soften. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil.
Add the seasonings, including the garlic powder, oregano, thyme, salt and black pepper to the mushrooms and stir to coat the mushrooms in the spices. Saute another two minutes.
Push the mushrooms to the outside of the pan and add the butter to the middle of the pan, and melt. Once the butter is melted, add the flour to the pan, while stirring quickly. Coat the mushrooms in the flour and butter 'paste' and continue stirring until there are no lumps or white flecks of flour left, about one minute.
Your water should be boiling by now, add your pasta and a palmful of salt to the water and boil for five minutes while you finish up with the sauce.
Add the chicken stock to the pan and stir to combine. Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for 5 mins.
Add the cream to the sauce, and stir to combine. Simmer briefly, about 30 seconds.
Add the cheese to the sauce and stir to melt completely. Turn the heat off and add your cooked pasta directly into the sauce. Stir to coat the pasta in the sauce and serve immediately.