Tuesday, January 28, 2014

No Fuss No Muss Pasta Sauce

From this no-cook sauce, you can make endless versions of pasta dishes. 

15 oz Jar Roasted Bell Peppers (drained)
3 oz Sun-dried Tomato packed in olive oil
1 cup dry roasted pine nuts (heated in skillet for a few minutes)
5 cloves of garlic (more if you love garlic)
2 oz Shallot
2-3 scallions (green onions rough chopped)
2/3 cup of parsley (to make a Greek version add mint)
6 very large Basil leaves
3 oz Tomato Paste
2/3 cup grated Parmesan Reggiano or Pecorino Romano Cheese. If you're into Greek food add Feta Cheese and Olives.
2/3 cup Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste and Cayenne if you like HOT

Put everything in a food processor (or blender….may have to add more olive oil for it to puree if using a blender) and process until smooth. This should only take a minute or less. Place all contents in container and refrigerate until ready to use.

Optional- I like to roast the Garlic, Shallots and green onion for an in-dept flavor. The picture to the left shows what I did.  I place everything on BBQ-grill for a few minutes to roast. 

Basic instructions- Boil your favorite pasta (I prefer to use high-end pastas for their flavor). Right before you drain the pasta reserve 2-4 cups of the pasta water to help build your sauce. Meanwhile have a colander standing by to drain pasta.  

The reserved pasta water helps us build a sauce because it contains starch from the pasta. The timing of this is very important because the inspiration behind this sauce was to make it quick with no FUSS.

From start to finish the entire dish should only take 30 min to complete.   Always have your Pasta water ready to go. Have it a near boil if you have too. No one like sitting around waiting for water to boil. 

Drain cooked pasta and put back in cooking pot.  In a very large saute pan or fry pan add some of your no-fuss no-muss sauce with some of the reserved pasta water.  
For a pound of pasta I use anywhere from a ½ cup to a 1 cup depending on what else I might add. Add some reserved pasta water so you can adjust the thickness and consistency of the sauce. If you want too toss sauce and pasta water into the pot you just cooked your pasta in and save a pot.  

Add some more cheese, or combinations of cheeses and some chives, parsley and or basil etc etc....... and meat if you like and serve.  Only limited to your imagination.  My personal favorite is mascarpone cheese.  

Kicking it up a notch and adding some more ingredients. Below are my suggested ingredients. The list of ingredients and recipes are continually evolving because every time I go to the store I find something novel, exciting, and creative to experiment with. If I were to write down every idea I had it would fill several books.

Suggestions- Sauté meat and set aside. Add more olive oil if the pans needs it. Toss in Shallots, sweat for a minute or two or until you can smell them (“Sweat” a fancy cooking term which means to cook without imparting color) than toss in garlic and do the same thing. Toss in the rest of your veggies and cook for a couple of minutes. Deglaze if you want with something I suggested below (I love Port for this dish) and cook down for 2-3 minutes.  If you want to enrich your dish, add cream and or butter.   Add some reserved pasta water if need be…………….. After pasta is cooked toss in to large sauté pan and combine everything. Maybe add some fresh Italian parsley or basil on to the pasta and serve with quality Parmesan cheese.  in the above dish I used mascarpone cheese and a basil Chiffonade. 

Deglazing liquids
Your favorite Port, Chicken stock, water, wine, beef broth, beef consume, or a combination of alcohol and or stock.

Enriching your sauce
Cream, butter and cheeses …………….do I have to say anything more.

Vegetables to consider- Asparagus, Broccoli Rabe, Greens beans, and Brussels sprouts. 

Other good stuff