Thursday, April 25, 2013

Fettuccine with Tomato Cream Sauce

As many of you know I am always on the hunt for meals that do not require a large grocery list. Keeping it simple when it comes to a mid-week meal is an absolute must in my life.

Since most of my mid-week meals turn into the next day's lunch I am also looking for something that I will eat as a leftover.

We have discussed it before but I am so odd when it comes to leftovers....I can convince myself that anything has gone bad even if it has only been in the fridge for 24 hours.

I will Triscuits and Cheetos stale as a rock but don't give me a piece of chicken that is more than a day old. Just can't do it!

When I came across this recipe on one of my favorite food blogs, So How's It Taste, I thought I had hit the jackpot....not only did it have nothing in it I would worry about the next day for my leftovers but it also has tomatoes and fresh basil in it which I have been craving ever since I put my tomato plants in the ground....I check them every day to see if by some miracle a tomato is already growing but alas I must wait until July!

Fettuccine with Tomato Cream Sauce

8 oz. uncooked fettuccine
4 quarts boiling water
1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
1 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. coarsely chopped garlic
1 (28 oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed
3 oz. 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
1/4 cup oil-cured olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/4 cup small fresh basil leaves
1/2 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved or shredded (I have also used cubed fresh mozzarella and it too was delicious!)

Cook pasta in 4 quarts boiling water with 1/4 teaspoon salt for 8 minutes or until noodles are almost al dente. Drain pasta through a sieve over a bowl; reserve 1 1/3 cups pasta cooking water.  My uncle always told us this was the only way to put pasta in a pot of boiling water and now it just makes me smile to see my cousin still doing it!
Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes or until very fragrant and tender, stirring occasionally.

Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and tomatoes; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in reserved 1 1/3 cups pasta water (I used 1 cup); bring to a boil. Add cream cheese; stir until smooth.

Add pasta, olives, and red pepper; cook 3 minutes or until pasta is al dente, tossing to coat.
Divide pasta mixture among 4 shallow bowls; top each serving with 1 tablespoon basil.
Divide Parmigiano-Reggiano evenly among servings.
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