Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Creamy Spaghetti

Don't let the name fool you, it's not really a cream-based sauce.  It is a name that my son came up with a few years ago for one of my quick and easy, go-to recipes.  And, let me tell you, after the last 4 weeks of non-stop studying, exam-taking and now the crush of getting things ready for Christmas, I definitely needed something simple and fast.  I was up late last night making snickerdoodles for my dad, nutty caramel popcorn bars (which will probably be tomorrow night's post) and wrapping presents, all to get packaged and mailed to Missouri, where my family is at.  To say that my brain is fried would be the understatement of the year.  Tonight's supper abolutely had to be something I didn't have to think about.  That's when I decided on Creamy Spaghetti.  Tanner has been after me to make it for a couple of weeks now, and he couldn't have been happier when he found out what we were having.

I can't even remember now what prompted me to change up our normal spaghetti sauce but, out of the blue, one night I decided to add cream cheese.  We liked it enough to have it again, and from there it has evolved into tonight's meal.  I found that we like it better with Italian sausage.  The fennel gives a little bite, which keeps the cream cheese from being too rich.  I always add a little extra Sicilian seasoning in, as well, for the same reason.  I hope you like it as much as we do!

Here's your Cast of Characters.

1 Lb. Italian sausage
1 1/2 Teaspoons, each, Lawry's season salt and McCormick Sicilian seasoning
1 Teaspoon, each, McCormick Perfect Pinch Garlic & Herb blend and Mrs. Dash Onion & Herb blend
1/2 Teaspoon pepper
1 Teaspoon minced garlic
1 Jar spaghetti sauce
1 8 Oz. neufchatel cream cheese (1/3 less fat), softened
1 Lb. linguine or fettucine

Brown sausage over, medium heat, in deep skillet along with minced garlic.  Sprinkle all of the seasonings lightly over sausage (not the measured amounts).

When sausage has cooked, add measured seasonings, spaghetti sauce and cream cheese.  Stir, as you break up the cream cheese a little.  Cover and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, while you cook the pasta.

Make sure that you get the cream cheese incorporated well into the sauce.  Once pasta is done and drained, top with sauce and some freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, if desired.