Really Eating

Pasta with Garlic Basil Cream Sauce

Posted in Recipes by Bethany on February 3, 2011

The last time certificates went on super sale (like $0.40 for $10), we did some intense Yelping and bought a few. Unfortunately, most of the restaurants we’ve visited so far have been sub-par (or super-sub-par) and we should have spent the money we did spend elsewhere.

The one success we’ve had is The Main Course. It’s nearby my office (on the way home), they let you use the certificates on take out (although you still pay the 18% gratuity), and they offer the cheaper certificates ($10 on $15 minimum purchase). Not only that, but their reviews on Yelp were pretty positive and we saw things we liked on the menu. Although I like the chicken pot pie dinner (with salad!), this post is dedicated to the garlic shrimp pasta that Bryan absolutely LOVES. Although the service is just so-so and the restaurant itself is a little unassuming (aka borderline sketch), the deliciousness of the food is worth going back.

Howeeeever, that delicious garlic shrimp pasta is also $15.95 before tax and gratuity. For a couple living on students loans and a budget, that’s not a meal that can easily become an everyday or even everyweek habit. So, I went on a quest to find a recipe that would mimic the creaminess and deliciousness…. and succeeded on the first try!

Broke Ass Gourmet is a site I’ve enjoyed following and is run by Gabi in SF. She really does an amazing job of posting recipes from a wide range of cuisines, ingredients, flavors, and includes the estimated cost per ingredient and per meal. Helpful, no? The only sadface is that there aren’t any step-by-step photos to accompany the recipe, but since I’ve had a pretty good success rate with most of them, I don’t mind.

Original recipe here: Capellini with Easiest Garlic Basil Cream Sauce


  • 1 lb dried pasta (I used fettuccine)
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large handful fresh basil leaves, chopped very finely, plus more for garnish
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste


Boil pasta in salted water according to package instructions. Drain, rinse and set aside.

Melt butter over medium heat in a large frying pan. Add olive oil and stir gently to combine. Add garlic to pan and cook for 30-60 seconds—just until fragrant. Be careful not to burn the garlic.

Reduce heat to low. Add pasta to the pan and toss using tongs, making sure the butter-olive oil mixture thoroughly coats all of the pasta. I imagine this would be easier with thinner pasta, but it worked out fine with fettuccine. Pour the half-and-half over the pasta and toss using tongs to ensure that the liquid coats all of the capellini. Sprinkle the Parmesan and basil over the pasta and toss well. At this point a creamy sauce will have formed around the pasta. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve immediately, garnished with more Parmesan and fresh basil.


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