Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mix It Up

Add a twist to a favorite recipe. For example, I was craving pasta in a rich, vodka cream sauce, but had no vodka and no cream. So I got a little creative in the kitchen, and ended up with something I like even better. Try these easy additions to take basic pasta and tomato sauce to a whole new level. And don't be afraid to substitute your favorite veggies with the ones I use. I mix it up a little bit every time I make it.

Tomato Cream Sauce with a Twist
(served over pasta)

Your favorite dry pasta (I like using Angel Hair)
1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce
1 head of broccoli
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 Large yellow onion
1/2 Yellow Bell Pepper (or red if you prefer)
3 tsp of cream cheese
Ground Pepper (to taste)
Olive Oil

1 medium size sauce pan
1 medium size deep skillet
Cutting board
Pasta Strainer

1. Peel and chop the onion and garlic. Pour olive oil in the skillet, heat for about a minute, add the onion and garlic. Add fresh ground pepper. Keep heat low.
2. Start to boil water in the saucepan for the pasta. Add salt and cover the saucepan for faster boiling.
3. While the onion and garlic is cooking, chop the broccoli into small florets. I like to chop them really small so they are easy to mix in with the pasta. Add the broccoli florets to the skillet. Stir often with the spatula.
4. Chop the bell pepper into small pieces. Add to the skillet. Depending on how much olive oil you started with you might need to add some more. Stir all of the ingredients together and turn the heat up to medium-low.
5. Your water should be boiling by now, so add the desired pasta. Different pastas take different amounts of time to cook. One of the reasons I like using angel hair is that it cooks quickly.
6. While the pasta is cooking add 3/4 of the jar of the desired tomato sauce. Stir the vegetables into the sauce. Let simmer for about 2 minutes. Then add the cream cheese. Sounds strange but I promise it is delicious. Stir in the cream cheese evenly. The cream cheese will not only add creaminess but will also thicken the sauce.
7. Let the sauce simmer for another 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. While the pasta sauce is simmering your pasta should have finished cooking. Again, this depends on what kind of pasta you used. Drain and rinse the pasta.
8. Turn off the heat under the pasta sauce. Instead of adding the pasta and sauce back into the saucepan, simply add the pasta to the skillet. This makes clean up easier. Note that this will only work if you have a deep enough skillet.
9. If you like, add bits of shaved or grated parmesan reggiano.
10. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Viola! A delicious veggie pasta dish that feels absolutely decadent but is good for you. The vegetables add a satisfying crunch and the bell peppers give it a little kick.

You can also refrigerate and re-heat in the microwave for up to 3 days.

And That's Your Daily Good Thing!

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