Like my last post, this one is a quick, sort of “cheat” version of a family favourite. I htought about posting it to our food blog, and I probably will, later, but it seems like it fits here, since it makes feeding the kids a little bit easier and less stressful.
Today, Kaia had a friend over through lunchtime. I thought I was going to make quesadillas, to go with the leftover rice & beans from last night’s dinner, until I realized we’d eaten all of the tortillas. Making quesadillas without tortillas would be tricky, at best. Then, Kaia’s guest piped up, “You know what sounds really good right now? Pasta with tomato-cream sauce.” It happens to be one of Kaia’s favourites, too, so, after a quick check to make sure I had the ingredients, I set to work. I didn’t have much time, so I decided to just make it quick, and it occurred to me that others might need a good, quick go-to recipe. So, here ya go.
Quick Tomato Cream Sauce
1 sm. can tomato paste
3 cans milk (fill the empty tomato paste can 3 times, that is)
1 TBS flour
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. Italian seasoning
salt & pepper to taste
1 TBS butter
In a blender, combine first 7 ingredients. Blend until very smooth and well-combined. Pour into a medium saucepan and heat on low, stirring occasionally, just to simmering. Turn off burner. Stir in butter, salt and pepper. Serve over hot pasta or rice.
Today, I served the sauce over capellini (angel hair), because it takes only about 3 minutes to cook. I put on a pot of salted water to boil before I started making the sauce, and the pasta was done just moments after the sauce, so it really was a quick meal. It is particularly delicious over spinach tortellini, which happens to be one of Kaia’s favourites (and wait…is that TWO vegetables in one dish?? Wonders may never cease!).
Before I go, here are a few of tips I have picked up over the years on the subject of cooking pasta:
Salt your water. Cook pasta until “al dente.” This literally means “to the tooth.” In other words, you should have to use your teeth to cut the pasta; it shouldn’t just squish against the top of your mouth when you press it with your tongue. After draining your pasta, toss it with a little bit of olive oil. This keeps it from sticking together, helps maintain the texture after sauce is added, and gives it a nice flavour. Last, but not least: I do not rinse my pasta (with the exception of cold pasta salad ~ in that case, I rinse in cold water until it is cold, and drain very well).