Monday, May 28, 2012

Pasta a la Vino

I can't believe Memorial Day weekend is almost over already.  I feel like it just started!  Besides going to a super fun wedding on Saturday, I did absolutely nothing, and it was glorious.  After spending more nights than I can count at the Hyatt Regency Austin, all I wanted to do was sleep in my bed, lay on my couch, eat food besides Mexican or BBQ, and not wear high heels.  I did all of those things and then watched an inordinate number of episodes of Toddlers and Tiaras on Netflix.  I love that show, and I'm not even ashamed to admit it.  My husband would disagree and tell me that it is ABSOLUTELY shameful to watch Toddlers and Tiaras, but really, what does he know?  My favorite part is when they're interviewing the pageant moms and the mom says something like, "My daughter so-and-so usually wins pageants because of her sweet personality - she's just so poised and very mature for her age", and then the camera pans to the child screaming, "I HATE YOU!!!" to her mom, slapping her brother and then flushing her toys down the toilet.  Poised indeed.  The editing is genius and 90% of the people on the show belong in the looney bin.  I love it!

Anyway, I should stop now before I really start embarassing myself.  I swear I have other interests besides trashy television.

Now, for the pasta.  You know what makes cooking Pasta a la Vodka really hard?  The lack of vodka.  Actually, I did have some vodka in the freezer, but it was cherry lemonade flavored and I thought that would be weird.  So I improvised because I didn't feel like going to the store, and we ALWAYS have wine in the house.  I think it turned out really well, and it was a hit with the hubs.  I added a bit of chicken sausage in there because meals without meat don't go over very well in this house.  And see that basil on top?  Yep, that's from my garden!  I haven't killed everything yet!  Score!

Pasta a la Vino
Source: Adapted from Cook Like a Champion

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium yellow or white onion, diced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup dry white wine

1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 cup half and half

Generous pinch of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons slivered fresh basil, plus additional for serving
1 pound whole wheat pasta (short cut, not spaghetti)
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus additional for serving

Few sprigs fresh basil for serving
2 large links Italian flavored chicken sausage (I used Trader Joe's brand)

Cook pasta in well salted water until al dente.  Drain pasta and set aside.

While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.   Add the onion and cook until softened, about 6 minutes.   Add the garlic and continue cooking until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes more. Stir in tomatoes and bring to a simmer.  Next, stir in the tomato paste and wine. Cook until most of the alcohol has evaporated, at least 5 minutes.

Stir in cream, red pepper flakes and salt. Bring to a a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cook sauce until thickened, about 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Stir in basil and cheese.

Add pasta to skillet and toss to coat.  Serve topped with additional basil and Parmigiano-Reggiano.

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