Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Quick Pasta In Tomato & Cream Sauce

In my last post I showed the pasta in rosé sauce that I had for dinner.  After overwhelming requests for the recipe (okay, it was only two people that requested it but that's good enough for me), I'm showing you how I made it.  ~

At this point, I want to say, "all joking aside" but that will just make me want to make a joke.  It's a family problem.  We tell jokes at the worst possible moments, like some people have a nervous giggle. If you ever hear of me making a joke at a funeral or during a crisis, you'll know that I really can't help it.  It's genetic.

Sooo - possibly all joking aside, this is a good chance to show you that eating whole, natural foods can still be fast food.  It's been about two years since I started modifying my eating habits to move toward an organic diet.  Right after how to handle the cost, the most common question I'm asked is how do I find the time.

The answer is, it gets easier on both issues the longer I stay on this course.

This meal is ready in about half an hour and extremely economical. It's a hit with kids, too!

All of the ingredients were in my pantry or preserved last fall. ~

In the late summer, when tomatoes are at the cheapest in the markets or abundant in the garden, put some away for winter use.  You can immerse them in boiling water for about 30 seconds and drop them in an ice water bath to release the skins.  If you don't have time for that, you can freeze them in the skins and do the process later.  For that matter, if you don't mind the texture, you can just leave the darned skins on.  Mine are peeled because I'm wayyyy more organised than you are.

I always make my own tomato paste and freeze it in ice cube trays.  The cubes are tossed in a freezer bag and super simple to use throughout the winter.  You need the tomato paste to thicken the tomatoes in the sauce.

Back to the recipe.  I put about a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and sauteed some diced green pepper, onion, carrots and a garlic clove.  I use a little, $10 electric chopper to speed the process up.  I put the freezer bag of peeled tomatoes in a bowl of warm water.  By the time the raw veggies were sauteed (about 10 mins.), I could dump the frozen tomatoes out of the bag and on top of the sauteed veggies.  I added 2 cubes of tomato paste to the frying pan.

You need a bit of seasoning.  This dish had about a quarter tsp. of dried tarragon, a sprig of rosemary from a potted plant I brought indoors in the fall, some sea salt and ground pepper to taste and a tsp. of cane sugar to cut the acid in the tomatoes. Just toss in whatever turns your crank.

It took another 10 mins. on medium high heat for the tomatoes to thaw enough to break apart and come to a boil.  I reduced the heat to medium low and let it simmer for another 10 mins.

You could serve the sauce as it is or add some cream to turn it into a rosé.  I love a sauce that is an orangy/pinky shade, so I'm going for the cream.

Stir cream into the sauce until you get a  nice blush tone to it. A quarter to a half cup will do. When you drain the pasta, keep a bit of the cooking water to thin the sauce to the consistency your prefer.

My finished sauce is a little too thick for my taste and I'll have to thin it. ~

I add a little chopped, fresh basil from a plant I'm growing indoors and some grated Parmesan cheese to the dish.  Parmesan is a staple in my freezer.  It grates easily from frozen and I never have to worry about it going bad.

Voila!  Quick, easy, cheap and delicious! ~

And it's good for you, too!

I'm sharing this with:  Seasonal Sundays