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sos...cream sauce

I plan to make blackened shrimp with cajun cream sauce over penne. The recipe calls for whipping cream. When I made the recipe last time, the biggest complaint was that the sauce was too thin. Do I need to cook it longer at a boil or is it necessary to add corn starch/flour to thicken? Also is it possible to use either whipping cream/half and half or just half and half only (with flour added to thicken of course) to reduce the calories somewhat but still produce a great sauce to coat the pasta?

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  1. If you are just going to use cream, you need to reduce it until it coats the back of a spoon--that's how I make cream sauce. But if you want something that includes flour and half and half, then you would start with butter melted in the pan, add flour (I'm sure someone will come along with exact amounts) and stir that to form a paste called a roux and let it cook while stirring without letting it brown. You then add in the dairy and beat with a whisk. Some garlic could also be added early on and some cheese at the end for extra flavor.

    1. You can use use a thickener with your heavy cream just be very light with it you just want to give it a bit more viscosity, this allows you to avoid the reduction keeping the sauce "lighter".
      If you use 1/2 &1/2 you will need to start with a roux as escondito123 already said. You could also use the same method with milk. Just remember that cream sauces should not be thick and gloppy. Go easy on the liaisons.
      I would skip the cheese with shrimp.

      1 Reply
      1. re: chefj

        Ah yes, the old no cheese with seafood rule. Forgot about that, though it is a rule I break with garlic and clam pasta.

      2. use heavy cream and reduce it down. don't be afraid to let it really go. i wouldn't muck it up with flour.

        4 Replies
        1. re: hotoynoodle

          I agree with you, but seem to get bounce back from the it-will-be-greasy gang. Had that with roasted cauliflower and shells tonight--wonderful.

          1. re: escondido123

            i'm not sure how cream can be greasy. are you using some kind of cheese? cream sauces are heavy enough, so i don't like adding weight to them with flour. i also don't like the mouth-feel it gives. you'll be surprised how much water actually cooks out of cream when you boil it down.

            1. re: hotoynoodle

              I totally agree. I posted my cheese sauce recipe, which was basically cream and cheese and a bunch of people said "Oh no you need the flour to keep it loight, yours would be too greasy." I don't like the flour myself for cream or cheese sauce because I think it makes it thick for no good reason.

              1. re: escondido123

                garbage supermarket cheese, poorly incorporated, might make for a greasy sauce. but really...

        2. If you want a great sauce, reduce whipping cream--a lot. If you use a thickener like flour, it'll be good, too. Just not "great" IMO. Somewhere in the "chefs" thread somebody said that chefs are not afraid to use a lot of cream. Got it.

          1. If you have it, it would be nice to use tapioca flour instead of regular flour or cornstarch. Tapioca flour requires a lower temperature to thicken. With the cream, I wouldn't think you would want to boil the cream or half & half.

            Don't use arrowroot either. It tends to make cream or milk slimy.