theboxexperiment

Attempting to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

Penne w/ Vodka Sauce April 27, 2011

Filed under: Dinner — theboxexperiment @ 9:49 pm
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This is one of my absolute favorite dishes. There is a pizza/pasta place in my hometown where I get it most often (Michelangelo’s Pizza, Pasta and Things gotta love family Italian cooking). We went home for Easter and I picked it up for Friday night…I was in heaven.

I actually got the idea to cook this years ago when visiting a high school friend at Dartmouth. He snagged a recipe from his mom and we made it for a bunch of his friends. (It’s on this trip that I discovered how awesome mozzarella balls and balsamic is). If a college boy can do it…I knew I can too 🙂

I made this for the first time a few months ago, but last night JEM made it for me as part of a celebratory dinner. He did a GREAT job, it was unbelievable and paired very nicely with garlic bread and champagne.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb penne pasta
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion OR 2 to 3 shallots
  • Scant 3/4 tsp salt, divided
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper OR 1 dried red chili, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with the liquids
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 3 Tbsp thinly sliced fresh basil
  • Shaved or grated parmesan cheese, to garnish
  • Additional fresh basil leaves (optional)
Steps
  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and keep warm.
  2. Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Add onion to pan; sauté until tender.
  4. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, pepper, and garlic; sauté 1 minute.
  5. Add vodka (when cooking with alcohol, there is always a chance it catches on fire, so be very careful); bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes or until liquid reduces by about half.
  7. Stir in short 1/2 teaspoon salt, broth, and tomatoes; bring to a boil.
  8. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.
  9. Remove skillet from heat and let cool slightly.
  10. Pour tomato mixture in a blender. (Remove center piece of blender lid–to allow steam to escape; and secure the lid on blender.) Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatter), and process until smooth.
  11. Return tomato mixture to pan.
  12. Mix in cream, then cook the sauce for 2 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly.
  13. Remove from heat. Stir in cooked pasta and basil.
  14. Enjoy immediately.
Pictures coming soon!!!
 

Fire Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Chili February 24, 2011

Filed under: Dinner,Meat,Vegetable — theboxexperiment @ 9:52 pm
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JEM and I  both got home early tonight but started right in on doing lots of back up work. We decided to whip up a yummy fire roasted  tomato and red pepper chili. It was a first but definitely has been added to list of family recipes.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, quartered and de-seeded
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 10 Roma tomatoes, halved (Or 1 14-oz cans fire-roasted tomatoes)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 2 spice y sausages, remove skin
  • 1 13.5-oz can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 8oz can tomato paste

Seasoning

  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar

Garnish

  • Sour Cream
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Cilantro

Steps

  1. Cut the Roma’s in half
  2. Quarter and de-seed the red pepper
  3. Place cut tomatoes and red peppers (on tin foil) on baking sheet.
  4. Drizzle EVOO on all veggies.
  5. Place under broiler until blackened.
  6. In a large chili pot, add tomatoes, beans, onion and pepper.
  7. Cook on medium-high heat for 5 mins (until the onion is translucent and the beans are tender).
  8. Add sausage (preferably de-cased), tomato paste, garlic and spices.
  9. Simmer until the meat is cooked (**This turns out very thick, so we added ~1 c. water to get the consistency to where we like it)
  10. Enjoy!!

 

Fire Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Chili February 19, 2011

Filed under: Dinner — theboxexperiment @ 1:42 pm
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Sometimes you want some food that comforts the soul and sometimes you need to feed a lot of people. Sometimes you need to do both that’s when you should turn to homemade macaroni and cheese. JEM and I spent the weekend in Hanover, NH with JEM’s parents, Skidmore friends, and my sister, MAW. The first night everyone arrived was a bit hectic: we had to go grocery shopping, help clean and prep the house for guests, and somehow coordinate dinner for up to 10 people without knowing when everyone’s timing. So we went with mac cheese: yummy, filling, and easy to reheat for the stragglers. JEM’s mom passed the recipe on to us and I’ve given it over to my family. It is the best mac cheese recipe I’ve ever found.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs margarine
  • 1/2 cup unsifted flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 5 cups milk
  • 2 blocks (4 cups)
  • 16 oz macaroni cooked 6 min, drained
  • 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • Add onion to taste
  • Steps

    1. In saucepan melt margarine over low heat.
    2. Stir in flour, salt, mustard, and pepper until smooth.
    3. Remove from heat.
    4. Gradually stir in milk until smooth.
    5. Stirring constantly, cook over medium heat about 12 minutes or until thickened.
    6. Remove from heat.
    7. Stir in 3 1/2 cups of the cheese until melted.
    8. Turn macaroni into greased casserole dish (9″ x 13″).
    9. Pour cheese mixture over macaroni; mix well.
    10. Mix remaining cheese and bread crumbs; sprinkle over casserole. (If you like color, you can also sprinkle a little paprika over the top and it really doesn’t affect the taste.)
    11. Bake 375 oven 25 minutes or until topping is lightly browned. (We end up broiling ours for the last few minutes to give it a nice golden color.)
    12. Bon Appetit!