Confession: I have to physically avert my eyes every time I pass the pasta sides packets in the grocery store.
You know the ones. They come in mouthwatering flavors like Creamy Chicken (a personal favorite of mine in college,) Butter & Herb (yes and yes), and Broccoli Cheddar (everybody’s favorite,) and are like, $.88 a packet. You can’t beat that with a stick!
What I’d like to beat with a stick, however, is the ingredient list and nutritional information that comes along with these unfortunately delicious side dishes. Let’s just say, there are healthier options – like making it yourself! Oh yes, ditch the packet and make your own creamy, crowd-pleasing pasta side for dinner tonight like Creamy Garlic Shells.
Creamy and ultra-garlicky, this simple little side dish comes together in about 15 minutes (including pasta cooking time) and the best part is that you control the ingredients that go inside.
Saute fresh garlic in a little bit of extra virgin olive oil and butter, thicken with flour (gluten-free if you need it,) then simmer with milk, chicken broth, and seasonings until thick and bubbly. Stir in cooked pasta and you’ve got a winner of a side dish to pair with dinner! That is to say, this is really good.
Start by cooking 8oz small pasta shells (or any small cut pasta) in salted boiling water until al dente, then drain and set aside.
Let the pot cool off the heat for several minutes then return it over medium heat and melt in 1 Tablespoon each butter and extra virgin olive oil. Add 2 minced garlic cloves then saute until light golden brown, 30 seconds, and then whisk in 2 Tablespoons flour, again, gluten free if you need it, and saute for another minute.
Next, slowly whisk in 3/4 cup each milk and chicken broth, season with salt and pepper, then switch to a wooden spoon and stir until the mixture is thick and bubbly.
Remove the pot from the heat then stir in 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 2 teaspoons dried parsley, and 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese.
Add the cooked shells back in then stir to combine. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if necessary.
Scoop and serve next to the protein and vegetable of your choice, then dig in. I hope you love this easy, made-over, yummy pasta side dish recipe! Enjoy!
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Creamy Garlic Shells
Creamy Garlic Shells are a quick and easy side dish recipe made with fridge and pantry staples. Tastes just like the store-bought package, but are funky ingredient-free!
- 8oz mini shells pasta (GF if needed)
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Tablespoons flour (GF if needed)
- 3/4 cup chicken broth
- 3/4 cup milk (I used skim)
- salt & pepper
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (not garlic salt)
- 2 teaspoons parsley flakes
- Cook pasta in a pot of salted, boiling water until al dente. Drain then set aside. Let pot cool off the heat for several minutes.
- Return pot to stove over medium heat then add butter and olive oil. Once melted, add garlic then saute until light golden brown, about 30 seconds, being very careful not to burn. Sprinkle in flour then whisk and saute for 1 minute. Slowly pour in chicken broth and milk while whisking until mixture is smooth. Season with salt and pepper then switch to a wooden spoon and stir constantly until mixture is thick and bubbly, 4-5 minutes.
- Remove pot from heat then stir in parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and parsley flakes until smooth. Add cooked pasta then stir to combine. Taste then adjust salt and pepper if necessary, and then serve.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.