Monday, September 24, 2012

Pasta and Asparagus with a Creamy Tomato Vodka Sauce

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Food Network MagazineIs there anyone out there tha tcan still find the Food Network magazine from last January???  If not, I highly recommend it.  Head to the library (free copies to read) and check out that month.  It's all Italian...  Cover to cover.

Now normally when the mag arrives, I mark three or four recipes and end up making one... sometimes.  This issue, I have dozens of pages marked.  But as important, the issue is filled with great information.  Like the differences in American Parmesan cheese and genuine Italian Parmesan.  Each has it's advantages, but the page lays out the difference.  So far, I have made two recipes, and I just got the Mag on Saturday!

One of the best features this month is a pull out section about pasta sauces?  There are 8 different sauces (not a Marinara on these pages... all new and interesting).  Sauces like a Lemon Alfredo or a Sage-Walnut Butter sauce.

Last night I made a bacon Cabonara sauce that was terrific.  But to night I wanted to go meatless.  

Now, armed with this magazine, I have a months worth of meatless meals to ponder.

I have certainly had vodka sauces before.  Seemed exotic, and something to order at a restaurant.  Now, I'm armed with a recipe to make at home.  As usual, I altered a few ingredients (in fact, the asparagus was my idea) from the magazine, but the basic is all from the Italian issue.

Here's what I did...

1 yellow Onion, minced
4 cloves Garlic, minced
2 TBS Butter
1 Poblano Pepper, stem and seeds removed, cut into slivers
1 TBS Cajun Pepper mix
1/2 cup Pepper Vodka
1 14 oz can Tomatoes
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated
2 TBS Parmesan Cheese set aside to top the pasta
1 pound of Aperagus spears, cut to bite size pieces
1/2 a box of Shells Pasta

Melt the butter and add the onion.  Cook for a few minutes until tender.  Add the Garlic and pepper and continue to cook for another minute.  Add the Cajun spices and the Vodka.  Simmer for a few minutes as the alcohol cooks out.  I love the Absolut brand pepper vodka.  great to cook with, adds a wonderful flavor.  Like I said, the booze cooks out, leaving a peppery Earthy taste.

Start the pasta cooking.  Everything will come together fast now.

Add the asparagus and tomatoes and allow to simmer for another few minutes.

Now, add the cream.

Simmer until the sauce thickens.  Add the Parmesan cheese.  While that continues to simmer, the pasta should be done.  Either mix into the sauce or plate the pasta and top (I liked mixing.  the shells do a terrific job of trapping the sauce making every bite filled with flavors)!

Plate, top with the remaining cheese and you are in for a treat!!!

here are some more photos to give you an idea of what I did...

Once again. no animals were harmed in the production of tonight's dinner.  But certainly no taste was missing. It was a wonderful meal!

like I said, I always enjoy the magazine... A great value for home cooks

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