Last night I decided to treat my boyfriend and his roommate to dinner. I came across this recipe for Pasta Valentina on Cooking Like Your Mom and I really wanted to try it! It looked pretty simple to whip together, and had two of my favorite ingredients: cream cheese and basil. Although the original recipe calls for fresh basil, I don’t cook with it enough to justify buying it–especially when it was only a dollar or so more to buy some flash-frozen basil to stick in the fridge.

pasta valentina



  • 1 lb. pasta
  • 15 oz. plain tomato sauce
  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
  • basil, to taste

As you can see from the photo, I served this with shrimp. I’m sure it would taste delicious without it.


1. Cook pasta according to package directions. While the pasta cooks, prepare the sauce. You might even want to start it a little sooner. I had trouble with the cream cheese melting well, and my pasta got a little more cooked than I like because of this.

2. Heat tomato sauce on medium in a sauce pan. Add garlic powder and cream cheese.

Sauce cooking

3. Be sure to cook up anything else you want to add. I happened to have pre-cooked shrimp in the freezer, so it only took a few minutes to thaw and heat it up in a skillet. It went pretty smoothly, other than accidentally putting butter in the skillet too soon. I ended up with some “browned butter” which is apparently a thing–I see it on American’s Test Kitchen, so it must not just be “burnt.” 🙂

Mild catastrophe turned out okay.
Mild catastrophe turned out okay.

4. Once cream cheese is melted, add in basil. I used about a TSP, and probably could have used more (but I am no good with conversions, and didn’t have time to google “how many tsp per basil leaf” or something ridiculous like that because my pasta was already hitting its peak)

5. Mix it all together! Serve to your hearts delight! Eat it up!

final product

Both of the guys and I really enjoyed this dish! It was super easy to make, and feels pretty fancy, to be perfectly honest. And it was a really nice change from having pasta with boring-ole marina or similar pasta sauce.