Friday, April 13, 2012

Creamy Tomato Basil Pasta

Okay, this one doesn't look as bad as the bean soup, right?

This meal is incredible, guys! So so yummy and also pretty healthy. I saw this recipe recently on Pinterest (I'm starting to go back to Pinterest after a six-week hiatus, which has been lovely, and which cured me if my obsession with it). I tend to take recipes that look good and tweak them to make them a little healthier. Sometimes the dishes lose a bit of integrity and the taste suffers. This one did not. It was perfect! It tastes so light and fresh, and, though it seems complicated, it really wasn't too tricky.

This was my first experience making fresh tomato sauce, and honestly the sugar-filled, deep red sauce full of soggy vegetables that I normally eat over pasta has suddenly lost all of its appeal.

Creamy Tomato Basil Pasta

Takes about 30 minutes to prepare

Serves 4 (or 2 if you're like us and insist on having seconds. In our defense, there were no other side dishes, and it's just super fantastic).

*Adapted from this recipe, which was partially adapted from a recipe from Cook's Illustrated.

For the tomato sauce -
- 5 fresh Roma tomatoes
- half a small onion, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1/8 cup minced fresh basil
- olive oil

For the alfredo sauce -
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons flour - I used whole wheat
- 1 cup skim milk (to cream it up a little I mixed about 1/8 cup powdered milk into the milk. You could also use part cream).
- 1 garlic clove minced

- 1/2 pound whole wheat pasta (I used spirals, but I would imagine almost anything would work).
- grated Parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper

Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta, and throw in a bit of olive oil so it doesn't stick together as it cooks.

Tomato Sauce:
Get another pot of boiling water in the stove, and cut a little X in the bottom of each tomato - this will help you peel them. Drop them all into the boiling water for about one minute (blanch them). Cool them (I just ran them under cold water till I could handle them) and peel the skins off. You can throw the nasty little skins away. Chop the tomatoes up as big or small as you like, and set them aside.

Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a small sauce pan, and add the onions and garlic. Cook them for about five minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally so they don't stick to the pan. Once they've softened up and turned translucent, add the tomatoes. You can blend it all together with an immersion blender if you want. I did, but not completely. Let it cook and thicken for bout fifteen minutes while you work on the Alfredo sauce!

(Cook your pasta according to the directions if you haven't yet).

Alfredo Sauce:
Break out yet another pan (the dishes will be worth the meal!) Melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until smooth, and cook it for about two minutes. Whisk in the milk, (or milk and cream combo) and the garlic, and season it with a bit of salt and pepper. Bring it to a simmer, all the while whisking, and cook it for about two minutes until it has thickened up a bit.

*If you feel it's too thick, you can add a little of the hot pasta cooking water to thin it out a bit.

Remove everything from from heat, (as long as the pasta's cooked) drain the pasta and add it to the alfredo sauce.

Mix the chopped basil into the tomato sauce and add the tomato sauce to the pasta. Give it a good stir and top it with Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. yum! I too go for skim milk when making white sauces for pastas, etc, because you usually have some cheese with that and I would waaaaay rather put my calories and fat into cheese than milk.