Posted in Italian, One Dish, Pasta, Quick and Easy, Tomato, Tried and True, Vegetarian, tagged easy, Italian, One Dish, Pasta, quick, simple, Tomato, Vegetarian, vodka on April 30, 2009 |
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Brandon is in the middle of law school finals and I haven’t been seeing much of him lately. He’s been studying around the clock. He had a final from 6-9 last night and I wanted to have a simple dinner waiting for him when he got home. I’m not going to lie that the inspiration for this dish was a great bottle of Toscano Rosso that I tried while I was wandering around Whole Foods after work yesterday. I picked up a bottle and decided it would be a pasta night.
I had all the ingredients on hand for Pasta with Vodka Sauce and it was perfect with ciabatta served alongside. I love how easy this dish is to put together – the touch of red pepper and fresh basil definitely set it off. Try this out next time you are looking for a simple pasta dish.
Pasta with Vodka Sauce
(Recipe source mostly Bakin’ and Eggs with guidance from the Joy of Cooking)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup vodka
1 tablespoon butter
1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (depending on your spice tolerance)
1 15 0unce can of tomato sauce (pureed tomato)
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
Shaved Parmesan, for garnish
Basil, thinly sliced, for garnish
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2-3/4 box of pasta (a little less than 1 pound) ziti or penne recommended
1/2 cup reserved pasta water
Heat oil in large saute pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for about 3-4 minutes, until it starts to get tender and translucent. Add garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add vodka and let cook for about 2 minutes, until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Add butter and red pepper flakes. Let butter melt into onion mixture. Pour in tomato sauce and reduce heat to medium-low. Let simmer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring salted water to boil in a large pot. Follow directions on pasta packaging for cooking. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water in case you need to thin your sauce.
Pour cream into tomato mixture and stir to combine. Add drained pasta and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish plates with Parmesan and basil.
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After hearing rave reviews, I’ve been wanting to try Penne a la Betsy from The Pioneer Woman Cooks. If you’re not familiar with the Pioneer Woman, you should definitely check out her site – especially her food blog. You’re in for some serious entertainment and great recipes. Now, I will say that most of her recipes are a bit of a splurge – think Paula Deen-esque. But I’m a firm believer that everyone has to splurge sometimes and we had some leftover heavy cream from a Tres Leches cake I made last week.
This dinner was a hit. Brandon told me several times how delicious it was and requested the leftovers for lunch tomorrow. I’m going to do some brainstorming about how to lighten this up a bit so we can add it to the dinner rotation.
Penne a la Betsy
(Recipe source The Pioneer Woman)
1 lb uncooked shrimp
3/4 lb penne pasta (about 3/4 a box – I used Barilla Plus and Brandon was none the wiser)
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup white wine (can sub chicken broth)
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream (I only used about 1/2 a cup and it was plenty)
Fresh parsley, chopped (As always, Publix was sold out on Sunday so I used dried)
Fresh basil, chopped (definitely splurge for the fresh basil – it makes so much difference in the flavor)
Follow cooking directions on package for pasta.
In the meantime, peel, devein and rinse (under cool water) shrimp. Heat about 1 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet and add the shrimp. Cook for 3-4 minutes until they turn pink. Be careful not to overcook the shrimp, they cook quickly! Transfer to a cutting board and let cool.
In the same skillet, add a little more olive oil – another tbsp or two. Add the onion and sautee for a few mintues until it starts to become translucent. Add the garlic and cook another minute or two, careful not to let the garlic burn. Add the wine or chicken broth and let simmer for a few minutes, stirring occasionaly. The wine will evaporate.
Add the tomato sauce and stir well. Then stir in the heavy cream and continue stirring. Turn heat down to low and let simmer while you chop herbs and shrimp. You want to chop about 1-2 tbsp each of basil and parsley (to taste) and chop the shrimp into bite-sized pieces.
Add shrimp and herbs into tomato cream sauce and stir. Salt and pepper to taste. Finally, add cooked pasta and stir until combined. Top with grated parmesan if desired.
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