Whould’a Thunk?

Ginger, in an Italian pasta dish?? Though a cream sauce doesn’t sound like hot-weather fare, a burst of basil and a hit of fresh ginger brighten the light and silky sauce, and beautifully so. Initially skeptical of a cream sauce, the amount used is minimal, to the point that when the dish is plated, you don’t even notice any. But in combination, the concert of flavors all dance to together in perfect harmony.


Six ounces of pasta just didn’t seem like enough for two entrée servings, so I increased all of the ingredients by 50% (or more) as indicated in the list below. Yet we did have some leftovers, enough for one lunch the following day—which was a pleasant bonus.

If using fresh pasta, it is very tender so don’t drain it in a colander. Instead, transfer it directly to the sauce. With gluten-free fettuccine in stock, we just used that instead of buying, or making fresh. Topped off with buttery pine nuts for a light crunch, the meal was satisfying on so many flavor levels. Adjust the ingredient quantities to your own personal preference. Next time I plan on increasing the quota of sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil.



  • Kosher salt
  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2-1/2 Tbs. pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped shallot
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
  • 4 1/2 Tbs. dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup lower-salt chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 Tbs. finely chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 9 oz. fettuccine, fresh if possible
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano (1/4 oz.)


  • Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.
  • Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and cook, stirring, until golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a paper-towel-lined plate.
  • Add the shallot and ginger to the skillet and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add the wine and cook, stirring, until almost evaporated. Stir in the broth, cream, and tomatoes, increase the heat to medium high, and cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  • Cook the pasta until al dente, according to package directions. Drain, or if cooking fresh pasta, use tongs or a skimmer to transfer the pasta from the pot to the skillet. Add the basil and cheese, and toss. Top with the pine nuts and serve.

IMG_2347Recipe by Laraine Perri

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s