Monday, October 17, 2011

Penne Ricotta with Shrimp and Sausage

I love to make cream sauces at home. I try to stay away from these sauces in restaurants as they are always loaded with extra fat and salt. (That’s why they taste so good!) At home I can control the ingredients and create a decadent sauce without the guilt. Enter ricotta cheese. Ricotta is delicious and is much lower in fat than heavy cream, which is often used to make cream sauce. This recipe only has one tablespoon of butter and it creates a rich, luscious sauce. I add plenty of garlic for delicious flavor, and Parmesan cheese for a salty bite. I used shrimp and chicken sausage in my version, but feel free to use any meat you like or no meat at all. You can never go wrong with a great sauce over pasta!

Penne Ricotta with Shrimp and Sausage
Creamy and comforting without being too heavy, this is my favorite cream sauce!
Serves 4

¾ pound penne pasta
1 cup whole milk ricotta
½ cup white wine
½ cup chicken broth
1 T. butter
1 T. flour
3 T. olive oil, divided
½ pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 chicken sausages, sliced into bite size pieces
½ onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt and pepper
1 tsp Italian seasoning
¼ cup Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water before draining pasta. Drain pasta and reserve.

Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven or large sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic with a sprinkle of salt and the Italian seasoning, and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Remove into a medium bowl and set aside. Add more oil and the sausage. Sauté sausage until just cooked through. Remove into the bowl with the onions and garlic. Add the remaining oil and shrimp. Sauté until barely pink and remove into bowl to reserve.

Add butter to the same pan to melt, and then sprinkle in the flour. Stir to make a paste and cook for a minute. Add the chicken broth and bring up to a bubble, then reduce heat. Add the wine and allow the sauce to reduce slightly and thicken, about 5-8 minutes. Stir in the ricotta cheese until melted into the sauce. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir in Parmesan cheese. Add the meat and onion mixture and stir, and then add the pasta. Stir to combine and add in some of the reserved pasta water if sauce seems dry.

Serve immediately with extra pepper and Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Recipe by Sarah Lang

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