This is one of my favorite kinds of local chef recipes. The chef tells me about it, I cringe, I make it, and then I fall in love. Not only do I have a great new recipe but also the realization that I like something new. But before that, let’s go back to the beginning….

When Tim Larsen told me about his go-to meal, pasta with white sauce, my inner three year old shuddered. I have never liked white sauce. I imagine pools of butter and grease at Olive Garden or that bland jarred stuff you can get from the store. But, as part of the local chef series, I always make the go-to recipe, so I knew I would have to do it.

Hours before I was going to make it, I called one of my best friends and confided that I was really dreading it. “I hate white sauce,” I told her, “I don’t know what I am doing. How will I even know if I mess it up?” She has much more faith in me than I do and tried to talk up white sauce. “You’ll be fine. We had it all the time at home,” she said, “and I still make it on a regular basis. It’s really good.”

I sighed, I huffed, and eventually it was dinnertime.  I chopped the onions and garlic, got all my spices out, sampled some of the wine (liquid courage), and pulled the cream out of the fridge. Once the onions were golden, I added wine, spices, and the cream. The most amazing sweet and spicy smells start wafting through the air. I sampled it and I was a goner. This was really, really good. Six separate times while my pasta was cooking, I said to Manatee, “Hey, I actually like this. You got to try this. Isn’t it amazing?” I think he got a little annoyed. It’s probably not surprising that I couldn’t find the bottle of wine when I needed to refill my glass.

This is a great go-to recipe when you want some comfort food with little effort and a few ingredients. Add in some steamed veggies and protein to make an impressive, guest-worthy dinner.

Tim’s Spiced Creamy White Sauce
Time: 30 minutes (including chopping)
Serves: 2-3

1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/4 teaspoon of white pepper
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 cup heavy cream

  1. Add oil to saute pan at medium heat.
  2. Add onion and garlic.
  3. Cook until golden, stirring often, approximately 8-10 minutes.
    Tip: Once the onions turn golden, start your pasta water.

    My onions got a little burnt because I let them sit for awhile. This is why it's important to keep stirring and keep an eye on them.

  4. Add white wine to deglaze the pan.This just means to add the wine and then stir up all the bits of onion and garlic that are stuck to the pan.
  5. Add spices and cream. Stir so that it is evenly mixed.
  6. Turn down to medium low to simmer while the pasta cooks.
  7. Toss with pasta. Enjoy!

Recipe Review: I tossed the sauce with udon noodles, steamed broccoli, and steam red bell peppers, then I topped it with some Parmesan cheese and served it over spinach. YUM! This was a rich dish and yes, it does use heavy cream, but you don’t need a lot of sauce. You are probably eating about 1/3 cup of the cream. It tastes way more rich and naughty than just a little heavy cream.

The spices really add a lot to the dish. White pepper is a great spice to keep on hand. It adds a subtle heat and milder taste than black pepper. The nutmeg adds a warm, spicy, sweetness to the dish. I had never had white pepper and nutmeg together before, now I never want to have them apart. They complement each other really well.

Thanks Chef Tim!

 

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