Showing posts with label Iced to Death. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Iced to Death. Show all posts

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Penne a la Vodka

by Peg Cochran

I have a vodka pasta recipe that an acquaintance gave me thirty years ago (I remember being pregnant with my daughter and she is now thirty!)  She had cut it out from Bon Appetit Magazine and they, in turn, had gotten the recipe from some fancy restaurant in Rome.  The sauce had obscene amounts of butter and cream in it and also called for pepper vodka (you can buy it or make your own by soaking a hot pepper in some vodka for a few days.)  I can't, in all good conscience, eat something that rich anymore.  I am always mindful of my next doctor's check-up and what my blood test will reveal about my cholesterol!  So far I have avoided needing medication, and I'd like to keep it that way.

I experimented with the basic sauce ingredients and came up with this lighter version.  It's still not exactly diet food, but with portion control, isn't too bad. Of course controlling the portion is the hard part!  This is supposed to serve four (3 ounce portions each) but realistically three people could probably do it justice.

12 ounces penne
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes (or 1 28-ounce can)
2 shallots, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/3 cup vodka
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Cook penne according to direction.  Personally I like mine al dente so I check it a bit earlier than it says on the box.   

Cook your sauce first--remember, the sauce waits for the pasta, the pasta never waits for the sauce! This is very quick and perfect for a weeknight dinner that is fast but tastes like it comes from a gourmet restaurant.  

Saute the shallots  in the oil over medium heat until softened--about three minutes or so.  Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, for a minute (be careful not to burn the garlic.)  Remove from the heat and add the vodka.  Add diced tomatoes and bring to a boil (to burn off alcohol.)  Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.  Stir in the heavy cream and simmer until the sauce begins to thicken slightly.  Stir in the Parmesan.

Add the pasta to the sauce and toss.  Serve with extra Parmesan cheese.

Note:  you may want to add salt to the sauce -- I try to keep my sodium intake to a minimum, but if it's not an issue for you, season away!

Mince shallots

Saute shallots in olive oil

Add garlic, red pepper and tomatoes

Stir in cream and cook until thickened slightly and stir in Parmesan

Serve with extra Parmesan on the side

Buon Appetito!

Lucille Mazzarella, the Italian Jersey housewife in my Lucille Mystery Series, would definitely make something like this for her family.  Confession Is Murder and Unholy Matrimony are available now.  I also write the Gourmet De-Lite books including Allergic to Death, Steamed to Death and Iced to Death.  Funny, but there's food in all of them!  Well, I love to cook and I do like to eat!

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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Pasta with Sausages, Cream and Tomato

From Peg Cochran

Looks like we've got an Italian theme going here--Sheila's minestrone yesterday and a pasta dish from me today!  If you've had your fill of turkey/mashed potatoes/stuffing, a pasta dish is a delicious palate cleanser!

This recipe is from Marcella Hazan's "Marcella's Italian Kitchen."  I used this cookbook so many times that it fell apart.  I was lucky enough to find a pristine replacement at a library book sale for very little money.  Come to think of it, most of my beloved cookbooks are falling apart--The Joy of Cooking, Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, a volume by James Beard, two New York Times Cookbooks...funny but all my "diet" cookbooks seems to be in admirable shape!

I've adapted this recipe slightly to make a little more sauce (I know from experience that Italians eat their pasta with less sauce than Americans.  A lot of people would have found my grandmother's lasagna "dry," but we thought it was perfect.)  I've also used less cream--just enough to turn the sauce pink and give it the right consistency.  Also, the dish calls for "ruote di carro" or wagon wheel shaped pasta.  Now that I live in the land where pasta and tomato sauce are shelved in the "international foods" section of the grocery store, I can't easily come by that shape.  I've found farfalle to be a perfect substitute.

1/2 pound breakfast or other mild sausage (NOT maple flavored)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or less)
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes (original recipe calls for 2/3 cup of whole tomatoes)
1/2 cup of heavy cream
salt & pepper
2 tablespoons chopped parsley (I find this optional but a nice touch)
1 pound cartwheels or farfalle or shape of your choice
Freshly grated parmesa

Slice the sausages into 1/4 thick rounds.  Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the garlic.  When the garlic is a pale gold, saute the sausages until nicely browned on all sides.  Add the tomatoes, stir, and cook at a simmer for 20 minutes (15 will do if you're in a hurry.)

Add the cream (up to half a cup) and stir, simmering for several minutes to heat.  Add salt, pepper and off heat stir in the parsley.

Serve over pasta with plenty of freshly grated parmesan.

Buon Appetito!

Use farfalle or whatever shape you prefer

Slice sausages into small rounds

Saute until golden brown

Add tomatoes

Add cream

Buon Appetito!

 This is a meal that my character, Lucille Mazzarella, might serve her family for Sunday dinner.  Follow the adventures of Flo and Lucille in CONFESSION IS MURDER out now for all e-book readers from Beyond the Page Publishing.

 Join me on Facebook or visit my website or at @pegcochran

 Out now in my Gourmet De-Lite series:  Allergic to Death and Steamed to Death.  Coming in March 2014:  ICED TO DEATH

Coming March 2014