Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Creamy Pasta 3 Ways

I bought heavy cream for the first time last week ("40% heavy cream"- whatever that really means). I was in the mood for a creamy pasta dish, & was excited to find it in cholov yisrael. Anyways, in the matter of a week I used it 3 times :-)... A little goes a long way, & really boosts up the flavor & texture of any pasta dish. It was AMAZING, & I'll have to buy it more often!  My real inspiration was to make vodka sauce but I didn't have vodka- oh well. The first dish was penne with leek & artichoke cream sauce, the second was a quick pink sauce, & the third was a cheesy baked farro. As I usually am, I made these recipes without an actual recipe, rather just what came to me at the time, & so I am educatingly guessing (yes!) the measurements :-)

Penne with Leeks & Artichoke Cream Sauce
-2 leeks, sliced the long way, & cut into semicircles
-1 can of artichokes (in water, not marinated)
-1 clove garlic
-1 heaping tbsp. Earth Balance
-1 tbsp. flour
-1/2 cup heavy cream
-3 tbsp. parmesan cheese + more for serving
-Salt & pepper
-1.5 tbsp. lemon juice
-Minced parsley
-Zest of half a lemon
-Cooked penne (I only used a little less than half of the whole box of cooked pasta)

-Soak the leeks in lukewarm water with a bit of white vinegar (helps to release the dirt)
-Drain the can of artichokes & cut them into thirds (strips), & let drain well in a mesh strainer
-In a large saute pan, heat the Earth Balance (you can add more if you feel it needs)
-Grate the clove of garlic straight into the pan (or finely mince), & then add the leeks. After a minute or 2 add the flour, mix. Saute it until the leeks become tender, sprinkle in salt & pepper. Add the artichokes & then slowly pour in the heavy cream & then the parmesan, all while mixing it with a wooden spoon. Sprinkle in a little nutmeg, black pepper, & a little more salt.
-Add the lemon juice towards the end, & toss in the pasta. Sprinkle 1/2 the lemon zest and parsley on top
-Serve topped with more lemon zest, parsley, and a sprinkle of parmesan on top.

Penne with Pink Sauce
2 friends gave me this idea (shout out- M & D!) & on Saturday night I was starving so whipped this up in literally a few minutes. It's really a take on vodka sauce- minus the vodka, but it tasted great, without the ADDED alcoholic calories!!
-This is the same process as the above recipe, with the Earth Balance, a little flour, then streaming in the heavy cream. Make sure you season with salt & pepper, you don't want a bland pasta! Since I only did 1 bowl of this, it's just the ingredients that matter, not the measurements. The EB & flour usually take on a 1:1 ratio, & then just use as much heavy cream as you would need for however much you will be making. It will thicken because of the flour/butter mixture ("roux"). I used a little nutmeg, it's great in pasta dishes. Sprinkle in a little parmesan, & then stir in marinara sauce= this is the pink!
-Garnish with basil & that is one heck of a bowl :-)

Cheesy Baked Farro
The idea for this one came from Giada, but she goes through like 10 other more complicated steps. What I did was exactly what I usually do for mac & cheese, just I used heavy cream to go with this whole creamy pastas idea.

-Prepare farro according to the bag's directions (Avi did this for me very well). Make sure to season the water with salt
-Preheat the oven to 425
-Finely chop kale or spinach & set aside (1-2 cups should do)
-Make the cheese sauce: saute a tbsp. of EB with 1 tbsp. flour. Slowly stream in 1/4 cup of heavy cream & around 3 tbsp. milk (it can be thinned out a little because you'll be adding cheese). Then stir in 1 cup of shredded cheese blend (I used N&K's Mexican blend) until melted. Sprinkle in some nutmeg, & black pepper
-Combine the farro & kale or spinach in a bowl, & then pour the sauce over it, mix it to combine
-Transfer to a baking dish or tin, & sprinkle a little more shredded cheese over the top
-Bake until set, 15-20 minutes

These are perfect recipes for the 9 days, now that I'm heavy creamed out!


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