Friday, February 04, 2011

Christine's Penne Rosa

This is my version of Penne Rosa that I use to win over Chris and all of his friends. It never fails, I’m the coolest girl they know. Haha. 

I’d say use about ¾ a box of penne pasta
1 Tbs butter
Small drizzle of olive oil
2 Garlic cloves – minced
¼ Tsp Crushed Red Peppers
1 Red Bell Pepper – Diced
2 Plum tomatoes – Diced
1 cup of Chopped mushrooms
½ a bag of Spinach – loosely chopped
1 can of diced tomatoes
½ TBS Freshly chopped basil or 1 ½ Tsp dry basil
A pinch of Cayenne pepper
A little less than 1/2 Cup of Heavy cream
Feta and/or parmesan

Cooking pasta is an art… sort of. You don’t want to start cooking it too soon and overcook it. Even if you take it out of the water, it will keep cooking and mushy pasta will insult the pasta gods, I’m sure.  Always try to cook your pasta “al dente” (soft to the touch, firm to the bite). Also, salt the water that you’re cooking the pasta in. It’s your only chance to season the pasta. I’d say, start cooking the pasta once all of your sauce ingredients are in and simmering for 15 minutes. 

Normally I use only olive oil in my pastas, but butter makes red peppers really tasty… so in this recipe we’re going to use  in a large saucepan, 1 TBS of butter and a small drizzle of olive oil. You’ll want to pre-dice your vegetables before you start cooking the garlic because you really don’t want the garlic to burn. That is not tasty. So once the butter melts, add the minced garlic and crushed red pepper. Keep the heat med-low, when you start to smell the garlic…before it starts browning, it’s time to add your red peppers and tomatoes that you cut up. Simmer those for about five minutes on medium heat and then add your diced mushrooms (but you don’t have to use mushrooms.) and simmer them about another five minutes on medium heat. Next add the chopped spinach. It will seem like a LOT of spinach… but once it cooks down a little, life will make more sense. Once the spinach has wilted, it’s time to add your can of diced tomatoes, chopped (or dry) basil, and pinch of cayenne pepper. Give this about 10 minutes to simmer on med high heat. Next add the heavy cream and simmer medium to med high heat for 15-20 minutes on occasionally.
 Your sauce will start to thicken and smell like heaven… if it doesn’t already. Now it’s time to toss with the pasta in a large serving dish, toss in some shredded Parmesan too! Top with feta, of course, and dig in. you can thank me later. 

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

My Food Personality.

-          I love, love, love feta! I would put it on everything if I could!
-          My specialty is Italian. Pasta dishes are where my love for cooking began.
-          Lemon Zest!
-          Basil Pesto – from scratch
-          My cute red mini food processor
-          Cooking from the beginning. You know, from scratch. I try to cook as homemade as possible… but its hard sometimes!
-          Plum tomatoes. Best flavor, best sauces.
-          Spinach and mushrooms. I’ve really grown to love cooking with mushrooms!
-          Creating something new…that actually turns out good!
-           The word “julienned”, I’m not that great at it, but I like to say the word.
-          When whoever is trying my food – goes back for seconds! It’s the ultimate food compliment.

-          Bacon, pancetta, and pork in general – If you’re looking for a good bacon wrapped bacon ball recipe… you won’t find it here!
-          Marinating chicken. I won’t do it. The thought, makes me vomitous. I prefer to season right before I cook.  
-          Overcooked pasta. There’s nothing worse than squishy-mashed-potatoey- fall apart noodles!
-          When I run out of cheese. I can’t imagine my life without cheese.
-          Onions.
-          Doing the dishes. Bummer!
Tell me yours!