October 28, 2011

have a yummy weekend!

I saw snowflakes last night in Boston, and there is more on the way!  brrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

I hope you planned on being something warm this Halloween....  But, if you didn't, here's a great recipe to make you feel cozy.  

I was sick and lazy and felt a little bit like Sandra Lee this week (you know from Semi-Homemade on the Food Network!?), and I used things I had on hand to make a delicious penne dish with sweet and hearty tomato sauce.  The secret, which was a complete mistake/afterthought, was a little bit of fig preserves I added to the sauce along with a pinch of cayenne pepper to add depth of flavor.  You see, the other ingredients were bland (the store-bought vodka sauce was hidden beneath the no-salt-added-crushed tomatoes that I added for extra heartiness).  The figs brought a subtle sweetness (if I had a pinch of sugar on hand, maybe that would have done the trick) and the cayenne helped the sweet, acidic sauce to linger just a second longer on the tongue.  The end result was a hearty, flavorful sauce that I could have eaten by the spoonful!  I know you can make this EASY recipe on your own.  You won't regret it!

Jawsie's Penne a la Vodka, Kicked up a Notch 
(oops, just went a little Chef Emeril on you...)


You're looking at:
  • vodka sauce (I used Cucina Antica homemade flavor la vodka cooking sauce: no sugar added)
  • crushed tomatoes (I used San Marzano Italian Crushed Tomatoes: no salt added)
  • two cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1.5 TBS Fig Preserves (I used Bonne Maman Fig Preserves)
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • penne! (or other pasta; I used De Cecco penne)
  • tablespoon of olive oil

In a medium sized sauce pan, saute garlic in olive oil. Pour in vodka sauce and crushed tomatoes. Simmer for 10 minutes.  Stir in fig preserves, cayenne pepper, and dried oregano.  Simmer for 10-30 minutes. 

Meanwhile, prepare pasta al dente as indicated on the box (usually a pot of boiling water with a pinch of salt and a dash of olive oil for 10 minutes, or so.  You want your pasta just done (cut a piece in half and there should be no white line of uncooked gluten in the center-- which would be a white color) because we're going to cook it a little longer in the sauce).  Drain. Stir the cooked pasta into the sauce and turn the heat wayyyy low for 3-5 minutes.  Serve and be happy!

Have a great weekend.  If you're celebrating Halloween, stay safe and have fun!  

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