Saturday, October 23, 2010

Penne with Vodka-Spiked Tomato Sauce

The first recipe I tried from the Pasta and Noodles chapter was "Penne with Vodka-Spiked Tomato Sauce" (p. 198).  My husband is a huge pasta fan, but he really doesn't care for the whole grain variety.  Even the blends of whole wheat flour and white flour aren't his favorite.  So, I thought if I started with a recipe that had a very flavorful sauce, the type of pasta used wouldn't be so prominent.  I ended up selecting the Barilla penne pasta, a blend of whole wheat flour, white flour, and oat bran. This blend is supposed to be 51% whole grain, so I felt it was a fair compromise.

The sauce is very easy to prepare, using canned crushed tomatoes as the base, with the addition of a sautéed onion (I used water, not the oil called for in the recipe) and a little seasoning.  White beans and soy milk are blended together to make it a little richer.  It didn't take long to prepare, but I expected the sauce to be thicker than it was, especially with the addition of the beans.  It just so happened I had a dab of left over tomato paste in the fridge, so I stirred that into the sauce, bringing it to the desired thickness.  Next time, I might use more beans to see if that makes a difference.  I can't say that I really tasted the vodka in the sauce, although the blend of all the flavors was very pleasing, and I probably would have noticed if it wasn't there.

Most recipes call for more pasta than I would prefer for the amount of sauce to go along with it.  I like a little pasta with a lot of sauce, so I usually prepare less pasta than called for. No exception here.  The recipe called for a pound of penne, and I prepared 12 ounces.  Perfect!  Plus, when there are leftovers, it helps to have extra sauce for the pasta to soak up.  I liked this recipe very much!

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