Creamy Garlic Penne Pasta

Dear Niki,

It has been too long! I am not sure what I have been doing with my time, but I seem to always be busy these days.

Today was especially exciting because I drove all the way to Tabaquite (didn’t know exactly where that was until today) to speak to some secondary school children about dancing. My friend teaches there and she asked if I would teach the graduating class some basic dance figures before their graduation in July. They all seemed (surprisingly) enthusiastic about the idea and we are set to start next week Thursday. I may be out of my league here so I am excited to see how/if I can rise to the challenge. I’ll keep you posted 🙂

I try not to buy food too often because it is just sooo much more cost-effective to cook your own meals, and after the fairly long drive back home, I needed some food. I had most of the ingredients for this recipe and it is a quick and tasty one, so I whipped up a big pot of this creamy garlic penne pasta from Sweet Little Bluebird.

To make this feel a bit healthier and more balanced, I add some broccoli and sometimes I’ll add store-bought rotisserie chicken, but today I just had broccoli on hand.

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I throw these in with the pasta when it’s about five minutes away from being ready. It saves me an extra pot to wash 😀

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If you want a little more crunch from the broccoli, I would suggest you add them in for about three minutes instead. At five, they aren’t mush, but they aren’t crunchy either.

The beauty of this dish is that you don’t have to baby it too much. I use a can of Swanson’s chicken broth, slightly more than the recipe calls for; a 250ml pack of Carnation evaporated milk which is a little less than 1 1/2 cups; red pepper flakes instead of parsley and more or less garlic depending on my mood (I really don’t like peeling, chopping and grating garlic). I also use three tablespoons of flour instead of four because I find when it cools, it is a bit too thick and three tablespoons does a decent job.

Today I used Sargento’s 6 Cheese Italian blend instead of parmesan and it was just as delicious. Actually, it might be slightly better with just parmesan, so I would use straight parmesan if you have it.

My tip for when you’re back in Trinidad: PriceSmart has a 16oz pack of BelGioioso freshly grated parmesan for around $50 which lasts longer (you can freeze it) and is more convenient (no grating) than a block of Crystal Farms parmesan at HiLo.

Wishing you simple, delicious meals to end your exciting and long days!

Bon appétit!

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