A Light and Healthy Cream Sauce is not an Oxymoron

by Pamela

Orecchiette Pasta with Light and Healthy Cream Sauce

Orecchiette Pasta with Light and Healthy Cream Sauce

So the other day Craig and I were having a serious discussion about food.  Not to be confused with a serious discussion about what to have for dinner, it was just about food in general.  The topic was about cream sauces – his like of them, my dislike of them.  I’m not a sauce kind of gal.  I hail from the au naturel school of thought (get your minds out of the gutter…that topic is for another day).  I just don’t like my food covered up in sauces.  I know, I’m weird – Whatever!

The discussion came down to whether or not a cream sauce could be made healthy and still taste good.  Sure, there are lots of recipes for healthier sauces available but a healthy cream sauce recipe would be the holy grail.  Taking this on as a challenge, I set forth to come up with a light cream sauce, low calorie cream sauce or healthy creams sauce (whatever verbiage fits best for you).  This sauce is all three – and it’s delicious.

To further challenge things, I decided that a vegetarian pasta with the cream sauce would be the ultimate test for my boo’s taste bud’s and belly.  The result is an orecchiette pasta with a fresh pea and corn cream sauce.  Not only is the cream sauce a healthier alternative to alfredo sauce, but then you’ve also got the added benefit of fresh vegetables.

Craig acquiesced that my cream sauce was delicious.  When I told him that it was good for him I could have knocked him over with a feather.  Score – Girl: 1 Boy: 0

Relationship Advice

Speaking of oxymorons…(not morons – although there are a lot of them out there aren’t there?).  It seems to me that there are many oxymorons in the dating/relationship arena that I think are mis-categorized as such (much like the healthy cream sauce).  I thought I’d list a few and get your opinions on them.  What do you think and do you have any that I missed?

  • Sexy Nerd
  • Innocent Women
  • Sensitive Men
  • Sexy at Any Age

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Recipe: Light and Healthy Creamy Vegetarian Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Pound Cooked Orecchiette Pasta
  • 1/2 Cup (half a package) of Neufchatel Cheese
  • 3/4 Cup Low Fat/Sodium Vegetable Broth
  • 1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
  • 1 Teaspoon Corn Starch
  • 1 Teaspoon Water
  • Kosher Salt
  • White Ground Pepper
  • 1 Cup Peas (I used fresh English peas but frozen will work too)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Fresh Corn Kernels (cut from 2 ears of corn)
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan, over medium high heat, add vegetable broth and neufchatel cheese. Stir until cheese is melted and combined well with the broth.
  2. Stir in the lemon juice.
  3. Turn the sauce down to low heat and stir occasionally.
  4. In a saute pan, drizzle olive oil and heat over medium high heat. Once hot, add the peas.
  5. Stir peas so that they don’t burn and keep on the heat for 2-3 minutes (so that they’re heated through).
  6. Add corn and stir for an additional 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and stir to combine.
  7. Turn off the heat.
  8. In a small dish, mix the corn starch and water together until there are no clumps.
  9. While stirring the sauce, gently pour in the corn starch mixture.
  10. The sauce should thicken up almost immediately.
  11. Add pea and corn mixture to cream sauce and stir to combine.
  12. Season with kosher salt and white pepper.
  13. In a large bowl add the pasta. Pour the sauce over top, stir gently and serve.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 20 minute(s)

Diet type: Vegetarian

Number of servings (yield): 4

Culinary tradition: USA (General)

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18 comments

Anna February 10, 2013 at 5:55 pm

2 years later, I was googling “healthy cream sauce recipe” and this blog was the #1 result. So we tried it, and actually ended up using 1/3 reduced fat cream cheese because we couldn’t find neufchatel cheese and we had also googled a substitute for it and got this suggestion. It works great! We added a bit more cornstarch though, but we wanted the sauce a little thicker. Combined it with ravioli, shrimp, onions, and brussel sprouts. Delish! Thanks for posting this recipe!

Pamela February 10, 2013 at 7:54 pm

Hi Anna,

Yep, the 1/3 reduced fat cream cheese is pretty much the same thing. :) What you put it on sounds fantastic! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe. I’m currently working on another healthy cream sauce that I hope to be posting in the next couple of weeks. Thanks for letting us know what you thought of the recipe.

Diana September 5, 2011 at 6:33 pm

I made this tonight and it came out great! Doubled the recipe and used a hand blender on the neufchatel, chicken broth, and lemon juice to smooth it out more before adding the thickening mix! So good!

Pamela September 6, 2011 at 8:27 am

I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe Diana.

Kristi Rimkus June 23, 2010 at 9:18 pm

This is truly a pretty pasta dish. I’m right there with you when it comes to creamy pasta sauces. They are usually to rich for my taste (and calorie allowance for the day). Can’t wait to try this one. :)

sippitysup.com June 23, 2010 at 5:46 pm

I take issue with the idea that” sensitive men” is an oxymoron. I just do! In fact you hurt my feelings. I think, I’ll cry… GREG

Lynne @ CookandBeMerry June 22, 2010 at 3:53 pm

If it has pasta and is creamy, then I’m all for it. I’m sending this to my email right now!

denise @ quickies on the dinner table June 22, 2010 at 2:59 am

I believe you…. and I want that! YUM!

The Housewife June 21, 2010 at 9:57 pm

This is great! I feel so darn guilty every time I even begin to crave a creamy pasta and end up denying myself. Using the neufchetal cheese is genius!

penny aka jeroxie June 21, 2010 at 9:53 pm

Love fat is good. Need to lose some weight…

Jen Cheung June 21, 2010 at 5:22 pm

hello there :)
stumble upon your blog! lovely blog you have here. Found you on foodbuzz :) Will be dropping by more often! Feel free to save me on your blogroll :) Happy summer!

Jen

Andrea @ Fork Fingers Chopsticks June 21, 2010 at 2:47 pm

I’m not big on creamy sauces but my husband is. Perhaps it’s a male thing? I’ll have to make this for him and will report back.

Pamela June 21, 2010 at 9:43 pm

Jen – Thanks for stopping by. Checked out our site – cute.

Andrea – the cream sauce is Craig’s thing too. but I have to admit that I actually liked this one because it wasn’t so heavy.

Ken – I think you’re going to like this one. It will work on a lot of things, not just pasta. To keep it thin, eliminate the cornstarch or add more chicken stock. You could also change the taste by adding a bunch of chopped herbs.

Brad – Thanks, It’s got less fat but doesn’t taste like you’re missing something.

Ken June 21, 2010 at 8:59 am

nice idea on cutting the fat and calories. Definitely trying this myself.

Brad June 21, 2010 at 8:43 am

What a great idea, sounds tasty!

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