You will never run out of supper ideas when you have a package of pasta in the pantry. As delicious and comforting as they are, you can go beyond the traditional spaghetti and baked pasta dishes. Make a cold pasta salad with blanched fresh vegetables and a light vinaigrette, or sauté zucchini, squash, tomatoes, and onions and mix into a pot of hot pasta. Everyone loves a rich cheesy sauce with pasta and, since we replaced the heavy cream with whole buttermilk in this recipe, this appealing, velvety and satisfying cheese sauce has exceptional taste but less fat than other cheese sauces. Use whatever shape of pasta you happen to have on hand. While the pasta is cooking, shred the rotisserie chicken. The cheese sauce comes together quickly, but it will require your full attention. Whisk the flour into the butter quickly so it doesn’t burn and remember to take the pan off the heat before you whisk in the buttermilk so the sauce will remain creamy and won’t break. Baby spinach leaves are colorful and tasty in this dish, and you can also use blanched green peas, snap peas, broccoli, or your favorite vegetable. Serve right out of the skillet with warm, buttery bread.

Robby Melvin
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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water to cover according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

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  • Melt butter in a large skillet over medium. Whisk in flour until smooth. Cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Slowly whisk in milk. Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is thickened and bubbly, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat.

  • Whisk buttermilk, salt, pepper, and 1 cup of the cheese into flour mixture, whisking until cheese is melted. Stir in spinach, 1 cup at a time, stirring until wilted before the next addition. Add chicken and pasta; stir until coated and warmed through. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.