Cottage cheese is important to me. Without it, I would devolve into a hangry, pouty pile of woman, and I would definitely have a hard time meeting my daily protein goal – a goal I am still getting used to, even after a year of weight training. The concept of eating to get stronger feels novel, which is weird because that’s really the whole point of food.
I shovel cottage cheese into my mouth to feed the beast within, but I also genuinely enjoy it. It makes a perfect no-cook breakfast, it looks absolutely gorgeous when whipped, and it does some pretty incredible things when added to a batch of pancakes. It’s also loaded with protein and, when combined with evaporated milk, makes a creamy, surprisingly indulgent pasta sauce.
Cottage cheese pasta sauce packs in the protein
In terms of protein content, this sauce contains a not insignificant amount – much more than you would get in a jar of store-bought alfredo. This recipe makes a little over two cups of sauce, with a total protein content of 34 grams, while the same amount of Kroger brand jarred alfredo clocks in at a mere 8 grams. But even if you don’t have “protein goals,” it’s worth making, because it’s simple and delicious.
There are a few versions of cottage cheese sauce floating around the internet. Some consist of blended cottage cheese and nothing else, but I found that those tend to clump and coagulate if not heated just so, and I rarely do things in a way that could be described as “just so.” Instead, I used a 50/50 mixture of cottage cheese and evaporated milk. It ruled.
Photo: Claire Lower
This sauce is creamy and luscious, and easy to make and work with. All you do is blend the two ingredients together, then doctor with flavorings as you see fit. I added salt, white pepper, a few shakes of MSG, and a healthy squirt of Dijon mustard to mine. (Dijon adds flavor, but it’s also an excellent emulsifier, which helped keep the sauce from separating.) You might also add Worcestershire sauce, nutmeg, paprika, or garlic powder, or blend a garlic clove right into the sauce – but be warned, because that will make the sauce aggressively garlicky.
Once blended, splash in some starchy pasta water and heat the mixture over medium-low heat until it thickens. Toss with your pasta of choice – gnocchi is a clutch move here – and enjoy.
Protein-packed cheesy pasta sauce
- About a pound of pasta, cooked just shy of al dente and drained, with 1/2 cup of pasta water reserved
- 1 cup full-fat cottage cheese
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- Pinch of MSG
Blend all ingredients except for the pasta and pasta water in a high-powered blender or using an immersion blender until smooth. Add the sauce to a medium sauce pan with the pasta water and heat over medium-low heat until it’s thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
Add the pasta to the pot and toss to coat. Serve immediately with finely grated parm or pecorino if you so desire and enjoy those gainz, bro.