Super-speedy one pot pasta dinner

This meal is done almost as soon as the pasta is cooked, and uses a handful of ingredients you can find in most kitchens (in fact you can change it up according to what you have). It’s also the creamiest fat & flour free white sauce you’ll ever try… No more reaching for the instant noodles!

Rating – 4* – next time I would add fresh peas and sliced leeks, which I think would bump it up to a 5

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Ingredients – serves 2
Pasta of choice, amount you think the two of you can eat (this dish is pretty flexible… Just imagine triple the volume of cooked pasta vs dried)- I used spaghetti
2 stock cubes, one chicken one vegetable
4 rounded tablespoons very low fat cream cheese
2 finely sliced spring onions (scallions)
1 tablespoon capers
3 teaspoons chopped fresh coriander (or parsley if you prefer)
1/8th tsp (a pinch) of garlic powder
Optional – shredded cooked chicken or vegetables of choice
Grated cheese to top

1. Set the pasta and stock cubes to boil in a saucepan with just enough water to cook it – there is a bit of an art to this, the idea is you want the water to have almost disappeared by the time the pasta is done because you don’t want to drain it and lose all that flavour. For 2 people I used a pan large enough so the dry pasta covers the base of it, then filled it an inch and a half above that.

2. Now this is important… When the pan starts to boil don’t do what you normally would and turn the heat down – keep it going at full blast as long as it doesn’t boil over… Remember we want to dry up that liquid without draining, and that way don’t need to season the dish and the starch in the water makes the sauce extra creamy without adding fat. Cook until pasta is done and the water has reduced to a small volume, not dry but still fluid and slippery- about the amount of sauce you’d like to see on your pasta by the end. No big deal if you really can’t guess how much water you should use at the start, just watch the pan for the few minutes it takes to cook to make sure it doesn’t dry up (add a little boiling water if needed), or cook a lil longer longer until liquid reduces. If al-dente pasta is a must for you add less water then top up as needed to prevent it getting too soft

3. Add all the other ingredients except chicken or vegetables (if using) and stir well, melting the cream cheese by stirring until you get a think, creamy sauce (yum!). If using chicken or other veggies now’s the time to add them – stir about until they’re covered in sauce and warmed through, or if your veggies are raw (they need to be finely sliced for this) cook for an additional 2 minutes until they’re done. If making this again I would add finely sliced leeks and peas – straight from freezer to pan those shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to cook.

4. Top with grated cheese and serve immediately

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