Rich, creamy and brimming with lots of cheesy, garlicky flavor, my parmesan roasted garlic cream sauce with fettuccine is a pasta lover's dream! Cozy and comforting, it also features slices of tender chicken and sauteed mushrooms to make it extra delicious!
Parmesan Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce, the Perfect Sauce for Fettuccine
When it comes to food, little represents a sense of coziness and comfort to me more than a hot, soothing bowl of pasta deliciously drenched in a creamy, white sauce.
A rich cream sauce is irresistible, especially when it is filled with a generous amount of garlic, a copious amount of good-quality parmesan cheese, and a hint of brightness.
Fettuccine, with its slightly broader shape and heartier texture, is the ideal kind of pasta to toss together with a delectable garlic cream sauce such as this, because it beautifully twirls around the fork and keeps its shape, standing up to all of the tasty little extra ingredients such as slices of chicken and tender mushrooms.
My parmesan roasted garlic cream sauce is a savory white sauce filled with mildly sweet roasted garlic cloves, a sprinkle of an array of dried Italian herbs, a kiss of lemon, and, of course, a generous shake of grated parmesan cheese.
It's my favorite cream sauce recipe to prepare when my soul is craving a bit of extra love, nurture and comfort from some lovingly prepared and nourishing home cooking.
How to Make a Garlic Cream Sauce with Parmesan
A creamy white sauce for fettuccine typically has heavy cream as part of the ingredient list, which adds lots of richness. For my palate, that can sometimes taste just a little bit too heavy after a few bites, so I prefer to keep the dairy that I use slightly lighter.
My personal choice for garlic cream sauce is to use a larger ratio of low-fat milk to half and half, which produces a silky and creamy consistency without making things too rich.
And while simply adding fresh garlic to the sauce would be tasty, I roast off several heads of garlic and then add those mashed cloves into the sauce to create a deeper yet slightly milder garlic flavor.
You'd think that three heads of roasted garlic would be too strong, but when garlic is roasted off, it loses some of its “bite” and potency, and lends a slightly sweet, earthy flavor to a cream sauce.
For that touch of cheese flavor and that little hint of sharp savoriness, I use a refrigerated grated parmesan cheese and sprinkle that into my finished sauce, along with a kiss of lemon to offer a bit of brightness on the palate.
Here's a peek at my parmesan roasted garlic cream sauce with fettuccine recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- I begin by roasting off my heads of garlic; and once roasted, I mash the cloves and set aside for the sauce.
- Next, I prep my roasted garlic cream sauce with parmesan—all the details are in the full recipe below.
- Then, I cook my fettuccine according to package instructions, and keep it warm.
- Since I love the addition of sliced chicken and sauteed mushrooms, I sear off and slice a couple chicken breasts, then sauté some mushrooms and set those aside.
- To finish things up, I add my cooked pasta directly into the cream sauce, add in the sliced chicken and mushrooms, and gently toss everything together.
- I serve the fettuccine in roasted garlic cream sauce topped with fresh thyme leaves and toasted walnuts, plus extra parmesan on the side!
Parmesan Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce with Fettuccine
by Ingrid Beer
Cuisine: Italian, American
Yield: Serves 6
Nutrition Info: 519 calories
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 35 minutes
Parmesan Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce Ingredients:
• 3 small heads garlic
• Olive oil
• 3 cups low-fat milk
• 2 cups half and half
• 1 tablespoon chicken base (I use “Better Than Bouillon” reduced sodium)
• 1 ½ teaspoons salt
• ½ teaspoon dried thyme
• ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
• ¼ teaspoon black pepper
• 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 7 tablespoons flour
• ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese (or Parmesan-Romano blend)
• 1 teaspoon lemon juice
• 10 ounces fettuccine noodles, uncooked
• 2 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
• 1 teaspoon lemon zest
• 1 teaspoon lemon juice
• ½ teaspoon garlic powder
• ¼ teaspoon salt, plus a pinch
• ¼ teaspoon black pepper, plus a pinch
• Additional olive oil for the cooked pasta
• 10 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced
• ½ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped (optional garnish)
• 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
• 1 cup shaved Parmesan, for garnish
- To prepare the cream sauce: preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut the tops off of the heads of garlic to expose the cloves, drizzle each with olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper, then wrap each head tightly in a small piece of foil and roast for 40
- While garlic roasts, add the milk, half and half, chicken base, salt, thyme, Italian seasoning and black pepper to a medium-large pot, and whisk to blend; place the pot over medium-high heat, and bring to the simmer; once it simmers for a moment or two, turn the heat off.
- Place another medium-large pot over medium-low heat, and add in the butter; once the butter is melted, add in the flour and stir to completely combine, to create your “roux” or thickener; cook this roux for about 1 minute, just to cook out the “raw” flour flavor.
- Next, slowly pour the milk/half and half mixture into the roux, whisking the whole time to avoid any lumps from forming, until all of it is added; allow this cream sauce to very gently simmer for about 2 minutes, just to slightly thicken it, and then turn the heat off.
- Add in the grated parmesan cheese and whisk well to completely melt the cheese in and distribute it, then add in the lemon juice and stir; check the seasoning to see if you need any additional salt; keep the sauce warm until the garlic is through roasting. (If the sauce seems a bit thick, you can thin it out by whisking in a little additional milk.)
- Once the garlic heads have roasted, allow them to cool just enough to handle them; squeeze all of the soft garlic from the cloves and chop, or use a fork, to make it into a paste, and then add this garlic “paste” into the cream sauce and whisk well to incorporate it into the cream sauce; keep warm.
- To prepare the rest of the recipe: cook the fettuccine noodles according to package instructions; drain and lightly rinse, then toss with a touch of olive oil; keep warm under a kitchen towel.
- Prepare the chicken by slicing each breast in half lengthwise to create 4 thinner cutlets; place the cutlets into a bowl and add the lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt and pepper, and toss to coat.
- Place a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat, and drizzle in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil; once hot, add in the chicken cutlets and allow them to sear for roughly 3 minutes on each side, or until cooked through and golden; remove from pan and place onto plate to hold, then slice into strips and keep warm.
- Next, add the sliced mushrooms into the same pan, still on medium-high heat, and saute them with a pinch of salt and pepper, until golden; remove them from pan and set aside, keeping them warm.
- Add the cooked fettuccine noodles into the warm parmesan roasted garlic cream sauce, along with the sliced chicken and sauteed mushrooms, and with tongs, toss together to coat in the warm sauce.
- To serve, add equal portions of the saucy fettuccine to bowls, top with about 1-2 tablespoons of the toasted and chopped walnuts (optional), plus a sprinkle of the fresh thyme leaves; garnish with some shaved parmesan cheese, and serve.
Tips & Tidbits for my Parmesan Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce with Fettuccine:
- Fettuccine pasta: Fettuccine is my pick for this recipe, but feel free to use linguini, or even pappardelle pasta. Just choose a pasta that is a bit broader and heartier, and can hold up to a cream sauce.
- Chicken and mushrooms: I appreciate slices of chicken and sauteed mushrooms in my bowl of pasta, but this is totally optional and you can leave them both out. For a vegetarian version of this recipe, sub veggie base instead of chicken base in the cream sauce, omit the chicken, and leave in the mushrooms!
- Dairy and non-dairy options: While I use a combo of low-fat milk and half and half here, you can simply use whole milk if you prefer, or all half and half, or even all low-fat milk. You can even use a unsweetened, non-dairy milk such as plain almond milk or perhaps another favorite nut milk as a substitute.
- Prep ahead for convenience: To streamline things, you can prepare the garlic cream sauce a day or two before you plan on serving the recipe, then gently reheat it and cook your pasta when ready to serve.
Cook's Note: This recipe was originally published in 2013, and has been updated with even more love!