From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Menus, like rules are meant to be broken. Not arbitrarily, mind you, but there are days when even your best effort won't get the meal you planned to the table on time. That happened to me today. We had unexpected guests and chatted for so long that I had to revise my dinner plans. I needed to come up with something, that while simple to make, would be delicious and could be made from ingredients I had on hand. Working quickly through my options, I settled on this pasta which takes about 20 minutes to prepare. I had garlic bread and ice cream in the freezer, a bagged salad in the crisper and an unopened bottle of Rioja left from the holidays, so there would be a meal, bare bones to be sure, but enough to feed four adults whose appetites were no longer gargantuan. Once I had gathered all the ingredients, I rolled up my sleeves, took a deep breath and had dinner on the table in just a bit over 30 minutes. It was nice, but I'm glad this doesn't happen often. One is supposed to be Zen-like in their dotage and I am here to tell you this is no way to find enlightenment. The pasta is obviously easy to make, but don't discount it because of its simplicity. It really is delicious and I think you'll enjoy it. It is inexpensive to make and it would be perfect for those of you who are looking for Meatless Monday recipes. Here is how this lovely pasta sauce is made.
Linguine with Tomato Cream Sauce and Cheese...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite inspired by Martha Stewart
1 pound linguine
3 tablespoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 heaping tablespoon chopped garlic
1 large shallot, chopped finely
1 (35-oz.) can Italian plum tomatoes with liquid
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or freshly grated Parmesan cheese
red hot pepper flakes
chopped fresh Italian parsley
1) Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Add salt and bring back to a boil.
2) While water comes to boil, pour can of tomatoes with juice into work bowl of a food processor. DO NOT turn on the processor at full speed because you will end up with pink foam. Just pulse until you have a smooth puree.
3) Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, deep pan or skillet. Add chopped garlic and chopped shallot to oil. Saute until soft and translucent, then slowly pour in pureed tomatoes and their juice. Bring tomato sauce to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer, seasoning it with salt and pepper to taste as it simmers. If you're using red pepper flakes, add them now. Simmer until sauce reduces a bit, about 10 to 15 minutes.
4) While tomato sauce simmers, add linguine to boiling pot of water and cook per package directions for al dente pasta. Meanwhile, once the sauce has simmered for 10-15 minutes, stir in 2 tablespoons of butter. Slowly pour cream into sauce, swirling pan and stirring to incorporate.
5) Immediately drain linguine, reserving some of pasta water in case it is needed to thin sauce if it becomes too thick once cheese is added. Add linguine to sauce pan and toss to coat. Add cheese and toss again until cheese is evenly distributed. If sauce is too thick, thin it out with some of the reserved pasta water. Top with the chopped parsley (if using), some extra fresh ground pepper, and serve immediately, passing extra Parmigiano-Reggiano or freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Yield: 6 servings.
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