Linguine with Two-Cheese Sauce

I have a magazine problem. There, I said it. I understand that most people rip the recipes that intrigue them from their magazines, perhaps, if they’re really organized, storing them in binders until they get around to making them. Then they can throw away the rest of the issue, and prevent their house from looking like mine – stacks of magazines in every corner of the living room and office, on the nightstand by the bed, and even boxed up in the basement. I just can’t bring myself to toss them; what if a recipe that didn’t interest me 6 months ago is suddenly exactly what I’m looking for tomorrow? I know most of the recipes are available on the internet through these magazines’ sites, but it’s just not the same. I really like flipping the glossy pages of magazines; it’s basically the same reason I can’t fully get behind the idea of an e-reader for books. Luckily, I’m content to borrow books from the library 🙂

Linguine with Two-Cheese Sauce

The only way I can justify this situation is if occasionally I actually make some of the recipes from my magazines.  So, when this month’s Cooking Light arrived I flipped to their “super fast” section first, as I always do.  This section includes meals that can be made in about 20 minutes, which means they’re perfect for weeknight dinners, or in our case, a weekend lunch.  We’re huge fans of macaroni and cheese in just about any form, so the linguine with two-cheese sauce was an obvious choice.  As promised, it came together quickly and while I worked to photograph my bowl, Shane dug into his, and immediately commented on how much he was enjoying it.  When I took my first bite, I agreed.  It was rich and creamy, and really flavorful.  I could see pairing it with a salad to make a complete meal, or even throwing in some chicken.  When mac and cheese is this easy and fairly healthy too, why wouldn’t we find excuses to enjoy it more often?

Linguine with Two-Cheese Sauce
from Cooking Light, July 2011

8 oz linguine
1 cup low-fat milk (I used 1%)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 oz shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 1/2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Cook the pasta according to the package directions.  Drain and set aside in a serving bowl.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small saucepan set over medium heat.  Add the flour to the pan and cook for about 2-3 minutes (or until the mixture darkens slightly), whisking constantly.  Whisk in the milk, 2 teaspoons of the basil, the salt, and the pepper.  Continue cooking over medium heat until the sauce thickens slightly, about 3-4 minutes, whisking frequently.  Turn off the heat under the pot and add 1 1/2 oz of the Parmigiano-Reggiano and the mascarpone cheese, stirring until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.

Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta and toss to coat.  Garnish with the remaining basil and Parmigiano-Reggiano before serving.

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