Tuesday, December 21, 2004

It's Not Delivery, It's DiGiorno

(Tortilloni with Pink Vodka Sauce)

In my experience, all of the forms of stuffed pasta are very time consuming to make. I’ve done the larger ones like three cheese stuffed manicotti and spinach stuffed shells using pre-prepared pasta shells, but the small pastas like tortellini, tortilloni, and ravioli, require more patience and experience rolling out your own flat pasta dough, cutting it to size, and then stuffing and shaping them. I ask that you look for some future postings of the recipes for some these delicacies to cook when you have a couple of extra hours to spare working in the kitchen.

The title of tonight’s recipe might make you think that I’m proposing that you eat store bought frozen pizza for dinner. Wrong. What I am proposing is that you eat store bought, refrigerated tortilloni with a home made pink sauce. We did tonight, it only took thirty minutes to prepare, and it was surprisingly good.

The DiGiorno brand from Kraft foods produces a number of flavors of tortilloni including the one I purchased that was stuffed with portabella mushrooms. Unlike many of the recipes I’ve previously posted, this one doesn’t require a two extra trips to the grocery store and the use of every ingredient in your pantry and fridge. It's really very easy.

The ingredients:

One package of stuffed Tortilloni (or one box of bowtie, penne, or your other favorite pasta shell)

5 tbsp. unsalted butter
2/3 c. vodka
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 can (16 oz.) smashed or pureed tomatoes
3/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 c. half and half

Don’t use salt in the sauce, because the tortilloni is SALTY!

And now, the preparation:

In a four quart boiler, heat a couple of quarts of water to boiling.

In a large heavy skillet, melt your butter over medium heat. While the butter is heating, open the can of tomatoes and grate your parmesan cheese.

Redneck Tip: I use good Parmigiano reggiano cheese that costs a lot more than the pre-grated stuff sold in the little green cans by Kraft foods. It tastes infinitely better and is worth the extra cost.

Your water should be boiling by now, so add your pasta and reduce the heat to medium high.

Once the butter has melted in the skillet, stir in the vodka and red pepper flakes and simmer for a few minutes. Now add the tomatoes and keep stirring for a few more minutes. DO NOT BOIL.

Now add the cream or half and half and keep stirring DO NOT BOIL.

Redneck tip: Watch your pasta. Don’t let it boil over and don’t let it cook beyond six or seven minutes.

Put your pasta bowls in the oven to warm.

When the pasta has cooked done, drain it well in a colander. Add the pasta to the sauce in the skillet, reduce the heat to medium low, and stir in the parmesan cheese, reserving a few tablespoons for sprinkling on top. DO NOT BOIL.

Stir everything for a couple of more minutes. Take the pasta bowls out of the oven, place them on chargers, and spoon your pasta/sauce into the bowls. Garnish with fresh parsley and a sprinkle of parmesan.

Now sit down at the coffee table in front of the TV and watch Jeopardy while you eat.

Enjoy Y’all

The Redneck Gourmet

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