This is a simple, quick lunch I make often for my toddlers. I change the vegetables according to what I have available, and don’t always have cream cheese, but they gladly eat it any which way!
Creamy Tomato Pasta
Serves: 12 (1/2-cup) portions
1 lb. pasta (garden rotini & whole wheat bowties are favorites, here!)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 sm yellow onion, diced small
2 carrots, diced small
2 stalks celery, diced small
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning blend
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp Worcestershire
1 Tbsp ketchup
1 (15-oz) can tomato sauce
4 oz. cream cheese, softened, cubed
Put salted water on to boil, for pasta. In a separate pot, saute the onion, carrots, and celery in oil/butter for several minutes until very tender. Add garlic and cook briefly (less than a minute). Stir in Italian seasoning, bay leaves, Worcestershire, and ketchup. Add tomato sauce, bring to simmer, and cook on low about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cook pasta to al dente, drain, return to pot. Stir cream cheese into sauce until melted, then pour over pasta and stir together.
There are several ways to adjust this recipe.
- add more vegetables to the onion/carrot/celery mix; try eggplant, zucchini, squash, or sweet potato (diced small enough to cook quickly)
- add peas or chopped baby spinach to the sauce after simmering, before adding the cream cheese
- add broccoli florets or fresh green beans to the boiling water for the last 2-3 minutes of pasta cooking time
- substitute 1/4 cup heavy cream or 1/4 cup plain yogurt for the cream cheese
- add fresh herbs instead of the Italian seasoning
- like spicy food? replace the ketchup with hot sauce!
The sauce keeps well in the freezer. I only cook 4-6 oz of pasta at a time, and I store the extra sauce in the refrigerator or freezer for another day. That way, the pasta doesn’t swell with sauce and turn mushy!