Sunday, December 11, 2011

Penne Pasta With Alla Vodka Sauce, Spinach, Plum Tomatoes and Basil

Tonight, we continued our journey into the meatless world. We've decreased our meat intake (fish excluded) and increased our veggies, which meant another trip to the recipes box - in this case Pinterest - one of several.

I repined to my virtual Food I Love & Recipes board a recommended recipe from someone who's also a member of Pinterest. The recipe I chose was Tuscan Pasta With Tomato-Basil Cream.

I decided to doctor-up the recipe a little bit, but here's the original if interested.

Instead of the four-cheese ravioli the original recipe called for, I used Penne Pasta. In place of the Sun-Dried Tomato Alfredo sauce (which my grocery store didn't carry), I used Mario Batalis Alla Vodka Sauce and I added some left over plain/regular tomato sauce, which didn't change Mario's, only added to the amount of sauce. I included the basil it called for along with diced tomatoes. I chose a small pack of plum tomatoes, diced them - all of them - and added to the sauce. If you love tomatoes, you'll love this!

Along with basil and diced tomatoes, I also added spinach. Love spinach. It's so good for you, but the thing about spinach is that it contains a lot of water, and you don't want that water added to your pasta sauce. I used frozen chopped spinach. I boiled it quickly with 1/4 cup of water. Once it was done, I took a mesh strainer and pressed as much of the water out as possible. At least a cup of water came out!
 I took about half the spinach I made and stirred it into the sauce, along with the diced plum tomatoes and chopped basil leaves. Once the sauce had simmered for 5 minutes, I slowly add the Penne Pasta. I made a lot of pasta - 2, 16-oz boxes. I put about a box and a half into the sauce.
We're all about freezing large leftovers so we can defrost small portions when we don't feel like cooking. It's a wonderful idea we took from a family member. :) Once you're ready, put some pasta into a bowl (our preference) and sprinkle fresh grated Parmesan cheese over top. Try for freshly grated if possible. Kraft Parmesan just won't have the same taste. Please trust me on this. If you're a huge basil fan, go ahead and sprinkle some more chopped basil over top as well. 
The finished masterpiece. I hope you love it as much as we did. It took everything I had to not go back for seconds. OK. I had partial seconds. A very small bowl. :)


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