Tuesday, February 10, 2009
And She Made Pasta Again
I had all these plans. I was going to make this chickpea salad sandwich for dinner. But there were no chickpeas. Then I was going to improvise with cannellini beans. But there were no red-roasted tomatoes. Do you ever have those days where you're hungry for dinner before lunch? I was ready to snarf down a five-course meal by the time I left work and made my way to my hour-and-fifteen-minute yoga class, which put dinnertime at well past 7 p.m. That's, like, completely unaccectable for me and scads of retirees the world round. So all through yoga when I went to my "Zen place," there were amaretto biscottis, vegetarian lasagnas, homemade ravoilis and hummus dip with salty, salty pita chips looming on a buffet before me. At home I knew there was some already-cooked pork sausage in the freezer, that jar of artichoke hearts, and there are always cans of tomatoes (except today, because I've eaten them all). I came up with this variation on the Easy and Tasty Tomato Sauce. I'll call it Vegetable Vodka Cream Sauce. I'm go ahead and laud myself for using up some of the cream from the yesterday's Indian dish that would otherwise be going bad. And while I'm at it, for using up last summer's leftover vodka that has been collecting dust in the cupboards. Oh, and some questionable tomato paste that had been sitting opened in the fridge. Perhaps the best part about pasta is its ability to rend all leftover items useful. It turned out ridiculous salty, which I would say is a good thing. I think this sauce could only be improved upon with more veggies, particularly of the squash variety (i.e. zucchini, yellow squash and eggplant). Oh I can't wait for it to really be spring. Now I'm going to go make my grocery list. Vegetable Vodka Cream Sauce: 1/2 pound ground pork sausage 2 tablespoons of olive oil 1 garlic clove, minced or chopped dash of red pepper flakes 1 tablespoon tomato paste 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes 2 ounces vodka 1/4 cup cream 1/2 cup (or so) artichoke hearts, coarsely chopped salt to taste 1 cup small pasta (penne, macaroni, shells) 1 tablespoon-ish dry basil 1 tablespoon-ish dry parsley parmasan cheese Brown the pork sausage. Remove from skillet and set aside. This recipe is for about two people, so adjust portions as needed. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet on medium heat. Saute garlic and red pepper flakes until garlic turns a darker yellow. Add tomato paste and toast for a minute or two on medium heat. Toss in the can of tomatoes, vodka and cream. Bring to a boil and let simmer. While it simmers add in the artichoke hearts, any other vegetables of your choice and the cooked pork sausage. Let simmer for 5 to 8 minutes, until the alcohol cooks off. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Toss in a couple handfuls of pasta. Cook according to directions. Drain the water. Add the pasta to the simmering sauce. (Carefully) taste here. Add salt if needed. Turn off the heat and sprinkle with basil and parsley. Let sit for a minute or two so the sauce can thicken. Serve sprinkled with parmasan cheese.