Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Red and White Pasta for Valentine's Day

Pasta...za food uv love.
Are you ready for Valentine's Day? Yep, the charges have Star Wars and Disney Princess Valentines and Fun Dips to pass out. I've got some Reese's Peanut Butter Hearts up my sleeve, too. One more stop at Barnes and Noble, and that should take care of the Quiet Man. And I know what I'm making for dinner: an oh-so-easy and delicious pasta dinner.
The credit for this recipe goes to my sister Leslie, who loves to tinker around with recipes until she gets them just perfect-o. Then she makes them over and over and over again until she finds something else that she loves, and she moves on and starts again. I'm glad she landed on this pasta, because she made me love it too. It's so easy to make, and I'll bet you have just about everything you need already. The marinara is straight from the pantry, but you could swap in some fresh ingredients, if so inclined. I use fresh garlic when I make this sauce, just because I love that fresh, pungent taste. Doesn't that sound like it would make romantic garlic breath for Valentine's Day smooching? The Quiet Man likes his garlic too, and we brought up the charges with garlic in their baby bottles, so we can have a big fat garlic-y family love fest and no one will mind. Round out the menu with a green salad, lots of crusty bread, and definitely something chocolatey for dessert.
If you need a Valentine's movie to go with your Italian dinner, may I recommend Moonstruck? Please tell me you've seen it, or I'm sending you directly to Blockbuster video.
Look at Nicholas Cage. He's so young and nubile and angry, with a full head of hair, too. "I bake bread, bread, bread!"
And here's Cher with Olympia Dukakis. Cher's life is "going down the toilet" because her mom just caught her with a love bite on her neck from Nicholas Cage. Please tell me you already love Moonstruck.
And be sure to put on Lady and the Tramp for the kids, so they can croon "Bella Notte" while they slurp up spaghetti. Happy Valentine's Day to everybody! With any luck, I'll be back with one more breakfast recipe.
Notes: I almost rewrote this recipe in my regular format, but then I decided that I like it just the way it is. It reads like your best friend is giving you a casual recipe over the phone.
MY SISTER LESLIE'S FAVORITE MARINARA IN THE WORLD
Estimated Cost: $10.00 for 6 generous servings
2 TBSP. olive oil
2 TBSP. butter
Heat this in a large pot and don't let it burn.
Place 4 - 14. 0z. cans of undrained Hunt's, garlic, basil and oregano diced tomatoes in the blender.Add this to the olive oil and butter.
Add 2 tsp. garlic powder, 2 tsp. oregano, 2 tsp. basil, 2 tsp. crushed red pepper (use less if you don't like it super-spicy), and 2 TBSP. sugar
Heat it all up and let it simmer.
Make sure you have good bread on hand so you can dip your bread in the marinara and eat that while you finish the rest of the recipe because it's that good.
Boil a box of penne.
Bechamel Sauce
Add 5 TBSP. butter, and 4 TBSP. flour to a saucepan.
Add 4 C. of whipping cream (Prudy here-I used only 1 cup of whipping cream, and a combo of evaporated milk and low fat milk. I'm sure it's better with cream, but I don't need to find that out.) because it is so much better than half and half or milk, but you can use those too if you don't want to get bigger. Let that cook, and watch it carefully as it thickens. Add 1 tsp. salt and a dash or two of nutmeg.That's it. It's so easy and so delicious. You don't even have to bake it.Place penne on a plate, cover with marinara, pour the bechamel sauce on top, and sprinkle with parmesan.I love it, eat it twice a week, and hope you'll love it, too.
Next Up:
Waffles for your Valentine's Breakfast (I'm still deciding between good-for-you Honey Wheat Waffles, or bad-for-you Chocolate Waffles)
PS Two days left to vote for West's More Rockin Moroccan Peanutty Pitas. I'm so glad my career as peppy voter -promoter is almost over. Remind me to never run for office.

69 comments:

The Japanese Redneck said...

I love easy recipes. lol....I think my husband said he saw "Lady and the Tramp" 3 or 4 times a day for 2 years when his youngest was little.

Emily said...

I vote for both kinds of waffles!

Leslie said...

"I bake bread, bread, bread, and I sweat. And I should be so happy, huh sweetie!"
"Krissy bring me the big knife!"
Ok, I LOVED this post! This was a fun one.
I am always torn on Valentine's Day. I always want to do Italian night and the kids always want the big 50's Party! We usually end up switching back and forth each year.
Thanks for honorable mention, today. I started with a combination of your recipe and Catte's and just kept going until I got it, perfecto! Now it's delicimo!
And as for Nicholas Cage! That scene when he knocks the table over, and runs his hand through his hair before grabbing Cher and kissing her is one of my favorite's. Mmmmmhhhmmmm. That one makes me catch my breath.

Mary Ann said...

This looks delicious. I need a great homemade marinara, so I will definitely give this one a shot.
I want both kinds of waffles too! I love the healthy variety, but the chocolate ones sounds sinfully yummy.
I love waffles.

Julie Harward said...

Yes...I think pasta is the food of love! Always so filling and good. Come say hi :D

Catherine said...

We've always watched, "Bringing up Baby" on V Day, but maybe we should change things up, this year. If it was up to me I would watch Moonstruck, but I'm sure the kids would rather watch Lady and the Tramp.

This pasta is so delicious! Leslie made it for me when we were down and I loved it. And Ilove the idea of an Italian Valentine's day.

Seth and Julie said...

I made this last week after reading it on Leslie's blog. My funny husband liked it because it didn't use spaghetti noodles. If I feed him spaghetti noodles he thinks it is boring. Change the noodle, and he suddenly thinks I put in great effort and brought forth something terribly creative. My 7 year old also appreciated the new shaped noodle. I thought she would find it too spicy, since she usually runs crying if she sees me take pepper from the cupboard, but she didn't seem to notice. My other two kids were spitting fire though, so I would suggest less spice if you have little mouths to feed. For me, I LOVE spicy, and this was a fun change. I was skeptical about such an easy marinara sauce. Isn't marinara supposed to require dicing and slicing and all day simmering? This was a fast, yummy alternative. Thanks Leslie, and Prudy!

Oh, and I've never seen Moonstruck, never even heard anyone talk about it. I did, however pick up an Anne Tyler book from Barnes and Noble the other day, on your recommendation. I hope to get to it this weekend.

Courtney said...

Hi Prudy,

I must say that I was excited to get the marinara recipe and love the idea of the pasta for dinner - my mom always made spaghetti for Valentine's night, but she also died the noodles pink by adding some red coloring to the boiling water, so fun! We also magically had pink milk in the morning - cupid was so mischevious at our house. But, I am torn with Chinese New Yer being on Sunday as well. What to do.....

Prudy said...

Courtney,
I had no idea you could dye pasta! The charges owe you a big thank you. Sounds like you had an amazing mom!

The Blonde Duck said...

Now I'm craving pasta. I love that you didn't do four cups of cream--cream kills my stomach!

Signs and Salvage said...

YUMMY...that looks GREAT!!!! I love Moonstruck!! I am so glad you liked the signs....YAY!!!! That was fun!! Happy Valentine's Day to you & your family:)

Take Care,

Kristin

ps...Thank you for the Birthday Wishes too! My friend emailed me this morning..."Welcome to the Elite 40 Year Old Club!" I did not think I wanted to be in that club:) Oh Lordy...Look who's Forty!!!!

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Sandy aka Doris the Great said...

I love Moonstruck! I especially love the lines: "Loretta, I love you!" (smack across the face from Cher) "Snap out of it!"

Adrienne said...

I made this meal for Valentine's day. It was sooo delicious. I just had the leftovers for lunch today. I used fusilli instead of penne because we have penne all the time around here. Thanks for posting this!

Prudy said...

Yay, Adrienne. I'm so glad you loved it.

Michal said...

Kimball and I think this recipe looks amazing and easy. We'll be having it very soon.

You and Heidi introduced me to Moonstruck. I'll never see it without thinking of you.

Can't wait to hear about West's contest. Have you heard yet?

Prudy said...

Michal,
Mums the word. I have heard but I can't reveal the results, one way or the other.

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