Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Fettucine Alfredo
Three tried and true Pastas!

Pasta Carbonara

Penne withVodka Sauce

There are three wonderful pasta sauces that are so fast you will have it on the table in a flash. All tried and true, a cinch to make dinner fast, fun, and absolutely delicious.

All of the ingredients are readily available, most of which you keep in the refrigerator or pantry most of the time. What more could you ask for?

With spring coming (HOPEFULLY!) buy some fresh asparagus and a crusty loaf of bread, toss together a salad, open a bottle of Somerset Ridge wine and you will be dining like royalty. If you feel you need protein, throw a steak or chop on the grill and you will be so happy!

Fettucine Alfredo

6 ounces 3-year-old Reggiano Parmesan cheese
6 ounces unsalted butter
4 ounces water
1 pound fettucine, cooked

Mix cheese, butter and water in blender until paste. Melt half-way in a large pan. Add noodles. Cook the rest of the way.

Penne with Vodka Sauce

1/4 lb. diced pancetta (Italian bacon), do not substitute

1/4 c. butter

1/3 c. vodka

1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 lb. penne pasta

1 1/2 c. heavy cream

1 1/2 c. tomato sauce
Melt the butter in a large frying pan. When the butter foams, add the diced pancetta. When the pancetta browns slightly (takes 2 to 3 minutes), add the vodka and stir.
After the alcohol burns off, stir in the tomato sauce and cream (the alcohol only takes a minute or two to burn off).
Stir continuously for 5 - 8 minutes. Place drained pasta into frying pan, add Parmesan cheese, and mix thoroughly for about 2 minutes.
Serves 4 to 6.

Pasta Carbonara

1 pound spaghetti
8 ounces bacon (8 slices) cut 1 inch thick crosswise
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
3 large eggs
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1/2 cup half-and-half

Set a large pot of water to boil (for pasta). In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 8 to 12 minutes; transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate.

Salt boiling water generously; add pasta and cook until al dente, according to package instructions.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together eggs, Parmesan, and half-and-half. Set aside.

Drain pasta, leaving some water clinging to it. Working quickly, add hot pasta to egg mixture. Add bacon; season with salt and pepper, and toss all to combine (heat from pasta will cook eggs). Serve immediately, sprinkled with additional Parmesan cheese.
The secret is to work very quickly, because the pasta, cooked and immediately lightly drained and tossed with the egg mixture is the cooking process for the eggs! This makes an amazing sauce for the pasta!

I'm adding a wonderful dessert in case you want this simple meal to become a very special meal!

Chocolate Truffle Torte

Unsalted butter, room temperature, for baking pan
1 pound semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
6 large eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dark rum
1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks, plus more for serving (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Assemble a 9-inch springform pan with the raised side of the bottom part facing down; secure side. Butter pan; line side with a long strip of waxed or parchment paper. Butter paper. Wrap bottom and side of pan with aluminum foil (to prevent water from seeping in); do not tuck foil inside pan. Set a kettle of water to boil for step 5.
2. In a large heatproof bowl set over (not in) a pan of simmering water, melt chocolate. Remove bowl from pan, and let cool to room temperature.
3. In another large bowl, using an electric mixer on high, beat eggs, sugar, salt, and rum until mixture is thick, foamy, and forms a ribbon when you lift the beater, 4 to 6 minutes.
4. Stir half the egg mixture into the cooled chocolate to lighten. Fold in remaining egg mixture, then whipped cream. Spoon batter into prepared pan, and smooth top.
5. Place springform pan in a roasting pan; carefully pour hot water from the kettle to come halfway up the side of the springform pan. Bake until torte is set and firm to the touch, about 30 minutes.
6. Transfer springform pan to a wire rack; remove foil and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate torte in pan until well chilled, about 3 hours. To serve, release side. Using a knife dipped in warm water, cut torte into thin slices. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

For that special evening, may I suggest a glass of Somerset Ridge Ruby Port?

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