Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Pasta in a Tomato Cream Sauce

I have been making this dish for a while now. I invented it on a whim about 5 or 6 months ago, but was never able to get a decent picture. And it seemed so simple that I never considered it blogworthy. Well, I made it again tonight after not having it for a while, and I decided that it's totally blogworthy. Mostly because of it's simplicity. But also because it tastes wonderful.

This is the kind of meal that can be thrown together in less than 30 minutes, is cost effective and sure to be something everyone will like. Any short pasta will work fine with this recipe, but I find that Rotini/Fusili works best. They just tend to hold the sauce better. I haven't tried it with spaghetti or linguini or any other long pasta noodles, so if anyone decides to give that a shot, I'd love to hear how it turned out.

I'd also like to say that I've made this sauce without the cream/half and half and cheese and it's really good that way too. So if you're looking to cut back on fat and calories, just leave out the cream/half and half and cheese. It will still be very yummy! I also like to mix it up with the herbs I use. Tonight I used dried oregano and fresh sage. I loved the sage in it and I think next time I'll just use sage.

And Mom, if you're reading this, you HAVE to try it. I think of you every time I make it because I know how much you'd love it.

Pasta in a Tomato Cream Sauce (source: my brain)

olive oil
1 (14.5 ounce) can Diced tomatoes
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tso dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 cup heavy cream or half and half
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
about 6-8 ounces pasta (like I said, I prefer Rotini)

Heat medium skillet over medium high heat and drizzle about a tsp or 2 of olive oil into the skillet. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Meanwhile, start cooking the pasta in boiling, salted water. Add the tomatoes to the skillet and simmer over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the tomato chunks start to soften. With a spatula, lightly mash the tomato chunks to release the juices and soften the chunks. Continue to simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, approximately 5 more minutes. Add the cream and cheese and cook 1 more minute, or until cheese has melted. After the sauce has thickened to your liking, add the pasta to the skillet and toss to coat the pasta with the sauce.

Serves 2-3

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Chocolate Ice Cream

Although the Vanilla Ice Cream recipe I posted below is easy and yummy, I have to admit that I am really not a huge fan of vanilla ice cream. I can usually only eat it with pie or brownies or some other kind of dessert. Or if it is drowned in caramel or fudge sauce. Chocolate Ice Cream, on the other hand, I could eat just the way it is every day of my life and never get tired of it.

This particular Chocolate Ice Cream recipe is not hard to throw together at all and results in a rich and creamy ice cream. It is perfect and I can't wait to make it again. Once again, this recipe comes from the user's manual of my ice cream maker :-)

Basic Chocolate Ice Cream (source: Cuisinart ICE 20 User's Manual)

1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, broken into 1/2 inch pieces (I used semisweet)
2 cups heavy cream, well chilled
1 tsp vanilla extract

Heat the whole milk until it is just bubbling around the edges (this may
be done on the stovetop or in a microwave). In a blender or food processor
fitted with the metal blade, pulse to process the sugar with the
chocolate until the chocolate is very finely chopped. Add the hot milk,
process until well blended and smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl and
let the chocolate mixture cool completely. Stir in the heavy cream and
vanilla to taste. Chill for 30 minutes or longer.
Turn the machine ON, pour chilled mixture into freezer bowl through
ingredient spout and let mix until thickened, about 25 – 30 minutes.

I missed my blogiversary!

Yep, July 14, 2007 was the date of my first blog entry. And I missed my blog's birthday :-( I can't say I'm surprised though. I've had a couple of recipes that I've wanted to blog about this month, but I just haven't had the time. And I apologize for neglecting my blog so much. I feel lucky some days to have time to breathe. But I have a few minutes today and so I figured why not finally add those ice cream recipes that have been waiting to be put in my blog.

I bought myself a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker a while back and only really used it once. So when summer rolled around and it started getting really hot, I decided to break it out and get some good use out of it. I started with the Basic Vanilla recipe I had used before (it's the one in the user's manual from my ice cream maker ;-)), but decided to add chocolate chips to it, since my husband loves Chocolate Chip Ice Cream. I used mini chocolate chips which turned out to be perfect. This ice cream recipe is so simple and yummy that we have made it at least 3 times this season already.

Basic Vanilla Ice Cream (source Cuisinart ICE 20 User Manual)

1 cup whole milk, well chilled
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups heavy cream, well chilled
1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract, to taste (I always use 1 teaspoon. I find anything more than that is overpowering)

In a medium bowl, use a hand mixer or a whisk to combine the milk and
granulated sugar until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 – 2 minutes on low
speed. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla to taste. Turn machine on,
pour mixture into freezer bowl through ingredient spout and let mix until
thickened, about 25 – 30 minutes.

To make chocolate chip ice cream, simply add about 1 cup of chocolate chips in the last 5 minutes of mixing.

Serve with a fresh, warm brownie :-)