Sunday, August 23, 2009

New Rules...also penne

What I've come to realize over time, is that this blog is really the most useful to me (besides of course my legions of adoring fans). I use it all the time when I don't have a particular recipe or cookbook with me. And since most everything I post here are things I like and make all the time, it is an invaluable resource. However, sometimes all I want to do is post a recipe, and I'm not feeling particularly chatty or interesting. So new rules, sometimes all you get is a recipe. Yay!

Ok, so moving on, I recently purchased the Williams Sonoma Pasta book. The awesome Penne ala Vodka from the last post was from this book, and the second one I tried (see below) was a success as well. Here it is, with some minor adjustments by me:

Penne With Spring Vegetables

1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1 in pieces
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp olive oil
10-12 scallions, chopped (white and light green parts only)
2 c baby spinach
1 1/2 c frozen peas
1/2 c white wine
3/4 c heavy cream
1/2 c basil (before mincing), finely minced
1 lb penne
salt and pepper

Boil water for pasta. Blanch the asparagus in the boiling water for approx 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon.
Meanwhile, melt the butter with the olive oil over med-low heat
Add the scallions and saute until wilted, approx 5 minutes
Add the spinach and peas and saute until the spinach is wilted, another 3-5 minutes
Add the asparagus and white wine and cook 3-4 minutes, until reduced
Stir in the cream, and bring to a boil
Simmer until the cream is slightly thickened, about 3 minutes, then add the minced basil
Season to taste with salt and pepper
Toss with the penne and enjoy!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Vodka Sauce!

And I'm back! Things got a bit busy for me...and then basically I just got lazy, so no posts for the last few months. But now that its summer, the time of year when I do most of my cooking, I've got a few tasty treats that need to be shared! First, I made a new Penne ala Vodka the other day and it was amazing. Now I've made this dish more times than I can remember, and with a ton of different recipes, but I think this one might take the cake. Sometimes less is more! The other little detail is that you actually dissolve the tomato paste in the vodka, creating this liquidy mixture before mixing it with the cream. The consistency is just right. The sauce perfectly coats the pasta without overwhelming it, a pet peeve of mine (listen up Italian restaurants, pasta is more than just a sauce conduit!)

Penne Ala Vodka

4 tbsp butter
1 c heavy cream
1/3 c + 2 tbsp vodka
1/4 c tomato paste
2 tbsp fresh basil, slivered
1 lb penne

Melt the butter with the cream
Combine the vodka and the tomato paste
Add the tomato mixture to the cream
Add the basil and salt to taste
Cook for approximately 5 minutes, until sauce is slightly thickened
Combine with penne and serve!