Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sundried tomato blush sauce and pasta

This one is for Ace, who had pasta and blush sauce Monday at our favorite restaurant. Candle light and a cute face...who could ask for more? Ace did. He wanted to drink the sauce. Really. Very classy. He did start chanting under his breath "I will not embarrass Steph, I will not embarrass Steph..." For those wondering, I am Steph. Tess is my nickname. Where was I? Oh yea...

Monday was our wedding anniversary. I've been married 13 years to Ace. Ace is my little nickname for him because he is a driving genius. Did I mention I can't park to save my life. Ace on the other hand is a high performance driver and has done a lot of test driving for Nascar teams and training for fire and police departments. He trains the instructors for the academy...so he's a step above the academy. He's the only guy I know who has a plaque on the living room wall from the United States Secret Service for his valued assistance and cooperation with their driver training program. Like I say, he's an ACE!

Why do I bring this up? Well, probably because for all the experience he has driving fast cars, he has no idea how to cook dinner. I take that back. He learned how to cook rice this week. He can also make spaghetti in a pinch, just don't ask him to make the sauce from scratch. No idea where to start...I usually start with something similar to these...

So I decided that my little guys would be all around experts. My youngest son, pet named Face, has a tool belt...

Today we strapped on the belt. It was time to make dinner, and Face is always eager to start a cooking project with yours truly. Tess. I love cooking with the kiddos. This was a mission to duplicate the blush sauce for Ace adapting it from a recipe I already had from the Pampered Chef. This isn't their recipe. I've changed it. It's a skillet dish, but I have a huge skillet. You may need a bigger pan...like a 2 quart stock pot. Here is what we came up with.

The ingredients:
6 cloves of crushed garlic...yea. We like it a lot. Can you tell?
1/2 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
2T sun dried tomato oil or infused oil (basil oil is awesome here)
1 cup chopped, peeled fresh tomatoes
5 cups vegetable stock
2T Italian seasoning
1/2 cup chopped parsley (I use flat leaf Italian parsley)
1 lb rigatoni pasta
1/2 cup chopped olives
1 cup frozen carrots, or fresh carrots, peeled and cooked until tender (Face loves to do this part.)
2 cups broccoli, steamed
8 oz light cream cheese
4 oz. shredded mozzarella
4 oz shredded Parmesan or Feta
Fresh cracked pepper and additional chopped flat leaf Italian parsley for garnish

Saute garlic in 2T sun dried tomato oil, from the jar your tomatoes are packed in.

Take a look at my homemade sun dried tomatoes. Oh my heart just sings for joy.Obviously these are what we used. I think one of my next entries should be how to make these at home like I do, huh?
Once the garlic cooks 2-3 minutes on medium, we added 5 cups vegetable stock,
1/2 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes, 1 cup peeled chopped fresh tomatoes, 2T Italian seasoning (again, this is a preference thing...I grind my own spices and herbs for my Italian blend, but you can use a store brand...I'm not checking your cupboard.) I also added 1/2 cup chopped olives (pick your favorite), and 1/2 cup chopped parsley. Normally I would add it at the end, but this cooks so fast there really isn't a need to worry about flavor loss of the fresh. It also brings the dried herbs to life. Quite amazing really.

Bring to a boil and add 1 lb Rigatoni. Don't panic. It will cook just fine and this will also help thicken the sauce...

When pasta is almost cooked, after about 7 minutes, add the cream cheese.

Add the cooked carrots and broccoli.

When heated through add the cheeses and transfer to serving dishes. Garnish with extra chopped parsley and give a generous cracking of black pepper...

Happy eats. Ace licked the plate...at home. What a good guy. I'll keep him!


Jeri said...

Happy Anniversary! Has it really been 13 years? Where has the time gone! It seems like just yesterday I drove up to your reception. I still remember how beautiful you looked.

Chef Tess said...

Oh big hugs Jeri!! We sure love having you in our lives!!

Amy said...

Happy Anniversary!

That dish looks delicious!

I didn't know Jace was so "decorated" and skilled in the driving department!

I gotta say though, whenever I think of Jace, one image pops into my head...the gold Trans Am he had when I was younger. So proud of that thing, he was.

Congrats again. That's a heck of a long time to pass and still like someone! :)

Chef Tess said...

Amy!! Pfhaaa Ace went by the name "Macho" for years because of that Custom Macho TA, goldish root beer brown, with all leather interior and space tape. Loved the TA. He still has a name tag that his mission president gave him that says "Elder Macho". Quite funny! Yea, he sold that to pay for his mission...that's when my MIL knew he was really committed to God. In fact, it may be that one act that brought us together...since you never give up something great without being compensated later...it's cool. You're right about the 13 years, it is a heck of a long time to pass and still like someone. Still laugh when they want to lick the plate instead of roll your eyes. Marriage is hard work, but so worth the good times!

mlebagley said...

This is insanely delicious! I just made it a few days ago and I LOVED it. It was super easy to make, and the sauce was creamy, thick n gooey...and so tasty! I normally don't have sundried tomatoes in the cupboard, but had found them on sale a little while ago and, remembering that you've posted recipes on here using them I picked them up. So glad that I did! I'll definately make this again! Thanks for sharing!

Shae Ko said...

Alright, I just made this for my parents because they have no milk allergies like Dan. DEEEELISH! It took me awhile to put it all together but was so fancy that it would be a great holiday or special occasion meal. We didn't have the mozzorella cheese at the last minute, but it was still soooo good . . . . and I chop it up and feed it to Nathan as well (10 mon.) A good meat and cheese meal.