Tag Archives: Pasta

Pasta and Vodka

IMG_6409 IMG_6410 IMG_6412Pasta is probably my favorite go to meal, and I mean Vodka? really? Add a little cream and a can of tomatoes and you’ve got a spectacular meal. You’ll also need a little fresh basil and parmesan to finish it off. It’s an easy meal and if you have the cream and cheese in the house you’re good to go. I always stock the tomatoes and I happened to have the cream in the house and there is always a bottle of Vodka in the freezer right? Fresh Basil is a wonderful layer but if you don’t have it you’ll still be fine. This pasta cooked up in no time and it was heavenly. Perfect for Meatless Monday dinner. IMG_6415 (2) IMG_6417 IMG_6420

Ingredients:

1 lb. pasta ( rigatoni type of noodle is perfect)

3 cloves garlic, minced

*1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper– I love the heat but use at your own discretion

1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving

1 tablespoon olive oil

app. 3/4 to 1 teaspoon of kosher salt for sauce (taste for salt) you’ll also need about 2 teaspoons to cook the pasta in

1/3 cup Vodka

1 28 ounce can whole tomatoes, I prefer San Marzano type so look for that

1/2 cup heavy cream

a few fresh basil leaves, cut up into smaller pieces

Directions:

Prepare pasta according to directions on pot , I always throw in about 2 teaspoons of salt to it. When pasta is ready , just drain. I made the sauce while the pasta was cooking.

Place a large skillet type pan on the stove (see pics) Add the olive oil and heat until it shimmers ( app. 1 minute) add the garlic and red pepper (if you’re using it). Cook garlic and red pepper and cook, stirring until soft and fragrant but not browned, this should be less than a minute. Add the vodka and cook down the vodka until it is nearly evaporated. Add the tomatoes and remaining 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt (start here and add to your own taste) bring to a boil (breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon as they cook down) A little trick I use is to use a potato masher and push down on the tomatoes while they’re cooking, just be careful and do it slowly because you wouldn’t want to get burned by some hot tomato sauce.  Lower heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the cream , basil and grated Parmesan and bring to a boil , then reduce and let flavors marinate for about another 1/2 hour on a very low heat. I continue breaking up the tomato bits. Add the cooked pasta to pot and stir to coat the pasta!!!!  Serve it up!!!!! A-mazing meat-less meal.

Pasta and Vodka

IMG_6409 IMG_6410 IMG_6412Pasta is probably my favorite go to meal, and I mean Vodka? really? Add a little cream and a can of tomatoes and you’ve got a spectacular meal. You’ll also need a little fresh basil and parmesan to finish it off. It’s an easy meal and if you have the cream and cheese in the house you’re good to go. I always stock the tomatoes and I happened to have the cream in the house and there is always a bottle of Vodka in the freezer right? Fresh Basil is a wonderful layer but if you don’t have it you’ll still be fine. This pasta cooked up in no time and it was heavenly. Perfect for Meatless Monday dinner. IMG_6415 (2) IMG_6417 IMG_6420

Ingredients:

1 lb. pasta ( rigatoni type of noodle is perfect)

3 cloves garlic, minced

*1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper– I love the heat but use at your own discretion

1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving

1 tablespoon olive oil

app. 3/4 to 1 teaspoon of kosher salt for sauce (taste for salt) you’ll also need about 2 teaspoons to cook the pasta in

1/3 cup Vodka

1 28 ounce can whole tomatoes, I prefer San Marzano type so look for that

1/2 cup heavy cream

a few fresh basil leaves, cut up into smaller pieces

Directions:

Prepare pasta according to directions on pot , I always throw in about 2 teaspoons of salt to it. When pasta is ready , just drain. I made the sauce while the pasta was cooking.

Place a large skillet type pan on the stove (see pics) Add the olive oil and heat until it shimmers ( app. 1 minute) add the garlic and red pepper (if you’re using it). Cook garlic and red pepper and cook, stirring until soft and fragrant but not browned, this should be less than a minute. Add the vodka and cook down the vodka until it is nearly evaporated. Add the tomatoes and remaining 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt (start here and add to your own taste) bring to a boil (breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon as they cook down) A little trick I use is to use a potato masher and push down on the tomatoes while they’re cooking, just be careful and do it slowly because you wouldn’t want to get burned by some hot tomato sauce.  Lower heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the cream , basil and grated Parmesan and bring to a boil , then reduce and let flavors marinate for about another 1/2 hour on a very low heat. I continue breaking up the tomato bits. Add the cooked pasta to pot and stir to coat the pasta!!!!  Serve it up!!!!! A-mazing meat-less meal.

Tomato Time Pasta

photo 2 (2) photo 2 (3)photo 4 (2)photo 5 (3)Nothing but beautiful tomatoes out there begging to be eaten in a million different ways. Perfect for a “Meatless Monday” dish or any night of the week . There are tons of local tomatoes out there now. At any local farmers market you can pick up pints of these beautiful babies.

I had bought 2 pints of those beautiful little cherry tomatoes and right now there are those gorgeous yellow sunburst tomatoes also available.  I wasn’t sure what I would do with them. They varied in size so I knew if I made a sauce some were getting cut and some would stay whole. Nothing ever sounds better than a plate of pasta to me,  nothing.   These beautiful tomatoes are only out for such a limited time you have to get them while the getting is good. For 1 lb. of pasta you probably don’t need 2 whole pints but I used them anyway. Some of the tomatoes were super small and I left them whole while I halved the larger ones. There are so many variations of this sauce and feel free to improvise. We love it this way. So simple and so delicious.

Ingredients:

1 lb. spaghetti , I like long spaghetti for this but whatever kind you like is good

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced. If you’d prefer you can slice thinly

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper* we like it spicy so if you don’t want it that spicy cut to 1/4, I actually used 1 whole teaspoon and it packed a lot of kick.

2 pints of cherry tomatoes or you can use about 3 cups of chopped fresh tomatoes of any type. I cut the larger tomatoes in 1/2 and I left the little ones whole.

app. 20 leaves of fresh basil, I just cut them up into small slivers

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste

freshly grated parmesan at your discretion

Directions:

Cook pasta according to directions on box for al dente. Reserve a cup of pasta water in the event you may need a little more liquid in your sauce. Add 2 tablespoons of salt to cooking water for pasta. The Italians like to say that their pasta water should be like sea water good and salty.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat add 4 tablespoons of olive oil and garlic, cook until garlic is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Be careful don’t want to burn this garlic. Add the crushed red pepper now and the tomatoes, and cook over medium heat. I also added some kosher salt (about 1/2 teaspoon to start, you can always add more) and a little freshly ground black pepper. Stir for a while to make sure garlic doesn’t burn and tomatoes start to burst and deflate about 5  minutes. I let the tomatoes simmer in the pan for about 15 minutes. Taste for Salt and Pepper.

Once the spaghetti is cooked and you’ve drained it ( remember to reserve a cup of pasta water).  Add it to the pan with tomatoes and over medium-high heat toss the pasta with the tomatoes well. Add the basil and if you’d like add cheese. I let everyone add their own cheese at the table.

Remove the pan from the heat and plate it up.

Yum! and even more delicious the next day.

Fresh Tomato Pasta with Ricotta

photo 5 (2) photo 5 (3) photo 3 (2) photo 5 (4)photo 2 (2)What could be bad here? Fresh delicious ingredients and pasta with fresh  I always make my fresh tomato sauce with little cherry tomatoes in the summer ( summer pasta favorite in this house). This time out I added in Ricotta Cheese, all you cheese lovers out there will love this. If you don’t love cheese just make without but don’t leave out the fresh basil because the flavor is what it’s all about. This is super easy and you’ll look like a star. By the way this was the night of the super moon and check out that awesome sunset over the mountains. Rocky Mountain High.

Ingredients:

2 cloves garlic, chopped

app. 1 and 1/2 packages of small cherry tomatoes or 1 lb. or so

1 small package of fresh basil will work but a little more is good too.

3 Tbsp. Olive Oil divided into 2 Tbsp. and 1 Tbsp.

2 Tbsp. Water

Fresh Ground Black Pepper app. 1/4 tsp. and then more to taste

1 tsp. kosher salt and then to taste

1 box any kind of spaghetti you like, I used bucatini it’s a personal favorite

1 cup whole milk or part-skim ricotta cheese, I used a little more but it’s fine to only use 1 cup.

Directions:

Prepare pasta according to directions on the box for al dente. You’ll want pasta with a little bite to it, never mushy and over cooked.

Chop 2 cloves of garlic. Clean Basil leaves and take out 3/4 of Basil and wash it , dry it and tear it into small pieces. Wash the tomatoes.

Place a large skillet or any large pot on the stove on a medium heat. Put 2 Tbsp. of Olive Oil in pot and heat for a few minutes till oil starts to shimmer. Add the chopped garlic to pot, the add the basil. Cook down stirring with a wooden spoon for about a minute, don’t burn garlic. Stir in the tomatoes leaving them whole, and add 2 Tbsp. of water ( tap water is good here). Add tsp. of kosher salt and about 1/4 tsp. of freshly ground black pepper. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking while cooking pasta. You will want tomatoes to break down and release their juices for the sauce.

Once the pasta is cooked al dente, drain it in a colander, no need to rinse cooked pasta. Then add it to the pot with the tomatoes. I added ricotta cheese right before we were going to eat and mixed well with the rest of the basil leaves and taste for more salt and pepper.

Delicious! and Easy!

 

 

 

Sunday Night Red Sauce (Basic Tomato Sauce)

Sunday Night Red Sauce with Perciatelli

Joel and I went on a beautiful hike this past Sunday. We were gone all day and the last thing we felt like doing upon arriving home was rush to get dressed and go out to dinner. Since I always have the ingredients for this recipe on hand, this dinner was a no brainer. Red sauce and spaghetti. I also had some delicious chicken sausage on hand so I threw that on the grill and there you have it–dinner on the plate. This is my basic go-to red sauce. You can serve it and freeze the remaining sauce for a long while and then the next time you want to use it, you merely take it out in the morning and then you’ll have dinner for that night!

INGREDIENTS:

6 cloves garlic (average size; increase or decrease depending on size of cloves), peeled and chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 28oz cans of whole, peeled tomatoes with their juices (San Marzano type)

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

*red pepper flakes (also optional; I love the heat)

* Italian herbs (You can usually buy this in a jar. Spice Islands makes an excellent one–it’s a combo of oregano, marjoram, thyme, basil, rosemary and sage. It’s a perfect blend of spices in a jar and saves a whole lot of time. This is also optional.)

*Teaspoon of sugar (also optional; I use it because it removes any acidic flavors)

* Red wine (optional but if you have it, use about 1/2 cup)

* Fresh basil (optional; you might not have on hand and it’s really okay without it but so fresh tasting with it. I actually had some in my herb pot and went out and cut some, but this certainly doesn’t always happen.)

Fresh grated parmesan cheese

You can use all of these spices or as many as you like at your own discretion. Season to your taste.

Pasta of your choice (This time I used Perciatelli. It’s thick and ropey and we love it.)

I had Aidells chicken sausage with mango and jalapeno and chicken with apple that I grilled alongside the pasta.

DIRECTIONS:

Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in as large a saucepan as you have. It needs to be fairly large. Add the chopped garlic and continue cooking on a low flame for about 5 minutes until the garlic softens, but not burns. Add the 2 cans of tomatoes and their juice and if you have fresh basil, add a few leaves now. (A lot of the tomatoes already have basil in them.) Turn up the heat and bring the sauce to a boil. Then bring the heat down and simmer for about one hour, at the very least. I usually cook it for about 1 1/2 hours. Use the back of a wooden spoon to crush the tomatoes; continue stirring often and add as many herbs and seasonings as you like. Taste it for additional salt; throw in about a teaspoon of sugar; and if you have red wine, put in approximately 1/2 cup (and then you have my permission to drink the rest with dinner). Continue crushing down tomatoes and stir occasionally. It will thicken up and your house will smell like Italy. I know a lot of people use onions at the beginning of this along with the garlic, but I don’t use them. I have in the past, but not everyone loves that flavor. If you do want to use them, you can add some chopped Spanish onion (about 1/2 of onion) when you put in garlic.

Cook pasta according to directions on the package.

For just me and Joel, I use about 8 oz pasta, plate individually and freeze the remaining sauce.

* Serves 4 as a main with 16 oz of pasta or 8 as a side dish

Sunday Night Red Sauce on Stove