Basil Cream Sauce Pasta Recipe
You might think this is a classic northern Italian dish, but its not. The basil cream sauce is not a traditional Italian pasta dish, it's a modern adaptation of Italian cuisine.
While Italy is known for its rich variety of pasta sauces made with fresh ingredients like tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and herbs, a basil cream sauce is not a common or typical sauce you will find in Italian cuisine. However, Italy is known for its basil production, especially in the regions of Liguria, Tuscany and Campania and you will find the herb being used in many dishes, sauces, pesto, and more.
What Part of Italy Makes Cream Sauces?
Cream sauces are not a traditional feature of Italian cuisine, but they are becoming more common in recent years, particularly in Northern Italy. The regions of Piedmont and Lombardy are known for their rich and creamy sauces, often made with butter, cream, and cheese.
Some famous dishes like Risotto alla Milanese and pasta dishes like Pappardelle al Ragu d'Anatra (Pappardelle with duck ragu) are some examples of the use of cream in these regions. The use of cream sauces is also common in Italian-American cuisine.
Basil Cream Sauce
This basil cream sauce is perfect to serve over pasta, chicken, fish, vegetables or even as a dipping sauce. The addition of basil leaves gives it a fresh and light flavor and the Parmesan cheese adds a nice creamy texture and a subtle nutty flavor.
The sauce can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Pasta with Basil Cream Sauce
- ½ pound pappardelle pasta
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ cup fresh basil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese fresh grated
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta to al dente.
- In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
- Add the heavy cream and bring it to a simmer.
- Reduce the heat to low and add the fresh basil leaves and stir until the leaves are wilted.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes.
- Use a blender or a food processor to puree the sauce until it's smooth.
- Return the sauce to the saucepan and put it back on the heat.
- Stir in the grated Parmesan cheese and butter until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.
- Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
- Combine the pasta to the sauce and stir until well incorporated.
- Serve and enjoy.
Some of My Favorite Pasta Recipes
- How to Make a Basic Orzo Salad
- This Is How to Make Spicy Ragu Sauce Over Pasta
- Cavatelli Pasta
- Cavatelli Pasta with Spring Peas and Pancetta Recipe
- Bucatini all'Amatriciana Recipe
- How to Make Strozzapreti Pasta with Guanciale Sauce
- Rigatoni with Mushroom Sauce Recipe
- Classic Tuna Casserole with Dill Recipe
Excuse the ignorance, what does it mean to "cut en chiffonade"?
p.s. LOVE the site!
To "cut en chiffonade"is the fancy chef term to cut leafy green vegetables or herbs including the recipes basil into long thin strips or ribbons. The classic technique is to stack the leaves on top of each other, roll them up into a cylinder lengthwise and then slicing across the roll every 1/8inch or 1/4 inch depending on how narrow you want your strips.
Personally, I typically just stack them and cut long strips with my knife or scissors. I bet this might even be a good job for my new favorite gadget, the pizza cutter.
I'll do some writing about different knife cuts and post it on the blog in the next week or two.
How long should the sauce be let to simmer down for after the cream is added? I let it simmer down for a good 20 minutes but it still didn't seem right. This relates to my second question:
What should the consistency of the sauce be? After letting it simmer for about 20 minutes it was still extremely soupy. I thought after letting it cool it might coagulate but no such luck. It was still usable and very tasty, I would just have preferred it to be more sauce instead of soup like.
First, the sauce "should" be whatever consistency you like. With that said there are a number of things you can do to increase the consistency:
1) Cut down or even eliminate the chicken broth
2) Use heavy cream instead of light cream
3) simmer it longer or
4) thicken it with roux. Simmer the onions in butter instead of oil, say 2-3 tablespoons worth. After the onions have softened add 2-3 tablespoons of flour and cook this for a few minutes. Then add the chicken stock and proceed with the recipe, ensuring to whisk the roux thoroughly into the stock.
Thanks for writing.
How do you sharpen a pizza cutter?
How many servings aprox. you get with the qunatities you provide here?
What is a "medium to large batch of basil?"
Home with Mandy
Great post, I was looking for a straight forward basil cream sauce. Thanks.
Hi Mandy, you are very welcome. - RG
Terran, to answer your question. 6 to 8 nice size leaves is a med to large bunch, but I use 8.
BTW, This is a great sauce for serving with Lobster ravioli, and fresh bread. UUmmmm
"eliminate" 14.5 0z of chicken broth, really?
Gonna try this, sounds great! This is the first recipe for this I am seeing Chicken Broth on, I was thinking it should have it in there! Thank-you!
I would like to add some browned cremini mushrooms to this sauce - your thoughts? Also can I make ahead and add to pasta later?
G. Stephen Jones
Angie, if you follow my site or my social media, I'm always preaching to play around with mine or anyone else's recipes to make them your own. Browned cremini mushrooms sound fantastic. Give them a try and let me know how it goes. As for making the sauce ahead of time, again, give it a try. It should be fine. I might be a little concerned about the cream but I've enjoyed leftovers of this dish and they tasted great. Maybe even better.
We made this for dinner tonight and it was really really good! The only change we made was using double cream (because it needed used). The bit of heat breaks the creaminess. This will definitely be made here again! Thanks for the recipe!
G. Stephen Jones
Jean, you are very welcome and thanks for the tip.
This went on top of lasagna rolls for the sauce. Used heavy cream, reduced until I was happy with the consistency. Also added minced red pepper to the onions... Ended up ridiculous.