This is another odd recipe combination born of the contents of my kitchen cabinets. A creamy Havarti sauce over pasta – of varying kinds – with lots of basil mixed in. Yum!
Ordinarily, I would never use such precious cheese as Havarti in pasta. I hardly ever even buy Havarti, and when I do have it, I want to eat it on crusty French bread. But. After a trip to the grocery store, during which I decided to splurge on sliced Havarti for sandwiches, I stopped for a few minutes on the way home to get gas. While I was pumping gas, the cheese….melted. I know. In three minutes. The cheese was on top of the bag, in the sunlight, and it just couldn’t stand up to the Florida heat. The cheese had those little parchment papers between each slice, but all of the corners had melted together. So I decided to find something to do with it that didn’t involve it being sliced.
I decided to make a basic white wine-cream sauce, complete with shallots and garlic, and add the cheese. At the time, my basil plant was out of control (it still is) so I wanted to add the basil. I thought it would be a good combination with the cheese.
But, I wanted to use up the remainders of my boxed pasta: rotini, shells, and beef it up with some orzo because I didn’t really have enough for an entire serving. You can see inside the shells box, there really wasn’t a lot of pasta left.
Chopped up two huge cloves of fresh garlic.
And a half of a large shallot. Shallots are yummy. I like to use them whenever I can.
Melt a couple tablespoons of butter in a pan – enough to coat all of the shallots and garlic. But hey – I’m not opposed to extraneous garlic, so have at it.
Mix in the garlic and shallots and sautée them until they are soft and lightly browned.
Add about a half a cup of white wine. I use this stuff because it is cheap, and available at the liquor store next to my building.
Add the wine to the pan, and stir it around. Let it simmer for a few minutes, before adding some cream. In this case, I used about a half a cup of cream. But I find that I play around with the levels of wine, cream, and chicken broth, if I add broth, because sometimes I want a thin, barely-there sauce, and other times I crave that rich sauce you can only get with heavy cream.
In this case, the added cheese really thickens the sauce. The next time I make this, I may add a cup of chicken broth to thin it out a bit. But it really all comes down to personal preference.
The rotini and the shells have been boiling during this time – I added the orzo later, because the orzo cooks the fastest. I used a half of a cup. Ideally, making this with one kind of pasta is the best, but what can I say: I like to be wacky in the kitchen.
I also used this basil from my garden. (I washed it first, though.)
When the pasta was al dente, drain it…
….and pour it on top of the pasta. You could easily stop at this point. The sauce tastes unbelievable.
If you are going to add the cheese, peel apart/re-slice the cheese (I used about three slices) and add to the pan. The cheese will melt quickly. If the sauce becomes too thick, you can add more cream to taste.
Keep the heat on medium, and add in your finely sliced fresh basil.
Stir it all together and serve it in medium-sized portions. This i s a very rich dish – you don’t need to eat a lot.
But oh my goodness, it is so good. Even though the basil plays such a small role in the dish, it really infuses the entire sauce with flavor (I love basil, so I consider that a good thing), and combined with the Havarti flavor, gives a bit of kick to a basil Alfredo sauce. So good.