Thursday, May 20, 2010

Pam's 3 go-to recipes response.

Nobody die because I'm posting!

1. Penne ala Vodka

We honestly have this at least twice a month because I always have the ingredients on hand, AND it's cheap to prepare. I'll note possible substitutions, but I only recommend them in a bind - the fresh ingredients are just so good. (I got this from the Williams Sonoma cookbook "Pasta".)

  • 5 large tomatoes (you could use 1 can diced tomatoes, and it will still be good, but not as good as fresh)
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup vodka (you can use white cooking wine, but if you do get Vodka, it keeps in the freezer forever. And it's always liquid, even in the freezer. We end up using white cooking wine more, because I just don't really have any reason to go to a liquor store except this recipe.)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb. penne
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Leaves from 3 or 4 large fresh flat-leaf parsley
    sprigs, coarsely chopped


Peel and seed the tomatoes, then cut them into small dice. If the tomatoes are very juicy, drain them for about 10 minutes in a colander. Set aside.

**to peel seed and dice, score tomatoes on bottom with an x. toss into a pot of boiling water, watch tomatoes and when the skin starts to peel from the 'x', take them out. let them cool, then kind of dig the seeds out through the 'x'. the skin should just slip off.

In a large fry pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté until just starting to turn golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the stovetop and add the vodka. Return the pan to medium heat and cook until reduced by half. Add the tomatoes, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Generously salt the boiling water, add the pasta and cook until al dente (tender but firm to the bite), 10 to 12 minutes. Drain well and add the pasta to the fry pan.

Add the cream and cook, stirring, over medium heat until the pasta is well coated with the sauce, about 2 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Pour into a warmed large, shallow bowl. Add the parsley and toss briefly. Serve immediately.

#2 Lasagne

This is a recipe Bryan came up with based on some experimentation on his mission in Italy. You know, when he wasn't out preaching the word. It's a "go-to" recipe because I make it once a month, but times the recipe by 1.5. That way I can make two small pans, and freeze one for later in the month. It's easy to make, and tasty. If you do freeze one, you need to thaw it in the refrigerator for 24 hours before baking.

1/2 pound deli shaved ham, diced
1 pack Barilla lasagna noodles, ready bake
4 -6 cups shredded mozzarella. (or buy the fresh log and slice it in thin slices)

Meat mixture: saute 1 onion and 2 minced garlic cloves in 1 TBSP olive oil for 5 minutes. Add 1 lb ground beef (or 1/2 pound beef, 1/2 pound Italian sausage) and brown.

To meat mixture, add
1 can tomato paste (small can)
1 can tomato sauce (small can)
1 can diced tomatos
1/2 tsp each basil, oregano, parsley
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste
2 beef boullion cubes

White sauce, mix:
1 carton ricotta cheese
1 small carton cottage cheese
1 egg, well beaten
1 TBSP parsley
1/2 cup shredded parmesan

red sauce
diced ham
white sauce
mozzarella cheese

try to have 3 layers, topping the last layer with red sauce and mozzarella.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 minutes more.

3. Dagwood Sandwiches
I don't know the full deal on these, because on paper they look like something I would hate. But I love them. The recipe is from Bryan's grandma, and Bryan calls them dagwoods. Don't know why.

1 cup diced ham (I buy good deli ham, 1/2 pound, thinly sliced)
1 cup cubed swiss
1/2 cup sour cream
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1 TBSP good dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1 small can sliced olives

8 good quality sandwich rolls (about six inches each)

Combine first 7 ingredients in a bowl, mixing gently until just combined. Divide mixture among the six rolls, and wrap each sandwich in foil. Bake in a 350 oven for 20 - 25 minutes.


Vanessa said...

You silly girl! I can't believe you posted, you are amazing.
AND if this is the kind of stuff you have on a regular basis, I want to move in. I can't wait to try that lasagna recipe, I've never heard of lasagna with ham in it, but it seems genius.

pamela said...

bryan declares there isn't any food that couldn't use some ham to improve it.

Anne said...

I'm thinking I'd have to skip the vodka. Liquid vodka in my freezer could tip the scales towards the high likelihood of me becoming a wine-o. Not so much self control.

pamela said...

oh anne, skip it. believe me. the weirdness you feel as a mormon in a liquor store is strange. you feel like shouting the whole time "it's for cooking, i swear!!"