onsdag, december 27, 2006

Tax Return Pasta

Is it really that long ago? Was it in fact the year 2001, 2002, or 2003 during which the government emptied out the Treasury and gave us all money back on our taxes? That whole vote-buying fiscal conservative's argument that a government should not make money, save money, or pay down debt...but should amass multi-trillion dollar debts, fail to pay the United Nations money owed (using there the argument that we provide military strength...for operations the UN doesn't approve of, hello), etc.

I got $300 back that year, whenever it was.

If they were going to empty out our nation's security [sic], I wish instead of being given $300 we all would have been given $280 and a copy of Patricia Wells's outstanding Trattoria cookbook.

My favorite of the recipes (or how I make it) is this:

Penne with Spicey Cream Sauce

* Hot pepper flakes
* 3 cloves garlic, finely diced
* 1 lb of penne (This is a standard box)
* 1 can crushed tomatoes (a 28-ounce can)
* extra-virgin olive oil (between 1/8 and 1/4 cup)
* heavy cream (what you might put in coffee)
* salt and fresh black pepper to taste

Extras you may like
* parmesan-reggiano cheese, finely ground (1/8 cup)
* fresh basil, finely diced
* vodka (I prefer Grey Goose), one to two shots, added with cream
* red wine

1. Set pasta water to boil. When it's ready, warm olive oil in another pan, about medium heat.

2. Drop pasta into boiling water. In second pan, add the pepper flakes. Add the garlic. Cook for 90 seconds. (Do not burn the garlic, of course.) Add the tomato sauce. Bring sauce to a steady bubble and spit, then reduce heat to just above a simmer. During the next 20 minutes, give the sauce and pasta a stir here and there to keep things from burning/sticking.

3. When the pasta is al dente (about 20 minutes), turn off sauce heat. Add cream (perhaps an 1/8 to 1/4 cup, to your liking), stirring steadily as you add it slowly so as not to curdle it. Add salt and black pepper to sauce to taste. (Add shot or two of vodka if you like and give a good stir.)

4. Drain pasta. Mix sauce and penne in giant bowl. Serve perhaps with parmesan and basil at the table and some red wine.

We would be a better country if we took the time to make simple, scrumptious dishes like this rather than relying on so many heat-and-eat meals in freezer bags. (I make an exception for IKEA meatballs--in moderation, of course.)
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