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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My latest "senior moment"

One of my "musts" is to always have sauce in my freezer - it's perfect for nights when I end up not having enough time to cook.  You'll always find marinara, bolognese and vodka sauce ready to go...sometimes pesto, too.

Last week, I had what my Dad calls a "senior moment" (been having way too many of them lately...ugh).  I had a meal planned and was about to start making it when I realized I didn't have a key ingredient.  No lentils for warm lentil salad.  Uh, yeah, that's a major one.

Enter the frozen vodka sauce.  Fortunately, it also works well for this type of situation.

I grabbed tortellini (another thing I always have in the freezer for "emergency" situations) and some peas, and already had some hot Italian sausage defrosted.  Talk about an easy meal you can throw together in less time it takes for the delivery guy to get to your door...not to mention much tastier (and cheaper!).

Do yourself a favor - simplify your life and keep these types of "reserves" in your freezer.  You'll be glad you did - especially if you're like me - 42 going on 92.  Must start doing crossword puzzles regularly again...

Tortellini with Sausage & Peas in Vodka Sauce
2 cups tortellini
1 cup vodka sauce (see recipe below)
1/3 pound hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup peas
grated pecorino romano cheese

Cook tortellini according to package directions.  Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet, then add garlic and crushed red pepper.  Saute until garlic is soft and add sausage.  Once sausage is brown, add peas.  Mix together, then add vodka sauce.

Drain tortellini and add it to the skillet.  Mix through so the sauce is evenly distributed among all the ingredients, take off the heat, add cheese and serve.

Vodka Sauce
adapted from Cook's Illustrated
1 (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained, liquid reserved 
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 
1/2 small onion, minced (about 1/4 cup) 
2 tablespoons tomato paste 
2 medium cloves garlic, minced 
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper 

1/2 cup pancetta, diced (can also use bacon)
salt and pepper 
1/3 cup vodka 
1/2 cup heavy cream (half and half also works well)

Puree half of tomatoes until smooth. Dice remaining tomatoes into 1/2-inch pieces, discarding cores. Combine pureed and diced tomatoes in liquid measuring cup (you should have about 1 2/3 cups). Add reserved liquid to equal 2 cups.

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are light golden around edges, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and pepper flakes; cook for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly.  Add pancetta and saute until cooked through.

Stir in tomatoes and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Remove pan from heat and add vodka. Return pan to medium-high heat and simmer briskly until alcohol flavor is cooked off, 8 to 10 minutes.  Stir frequently and lower heat to 
medium. Stir in cream and cook until hot, about 1 minute. 

WW Points+ = approximately 2-3 points for 1/3 cup (not including pancetta and using half and half)

Linked to: Mangia Mondays, hosted by Delightfully Dowling

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At April 5, 2011 at 10:56 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I absolutely love having pasta sauce in my freezer at all times. Can't wait to get some summer tomatoes - for now I use canned Italian plum tomatoes, which works, but isn't nearly as good as fresh tomatoes.

Your dish looks delicious - and I love everything out of Cook's Illustrated. :D

At April 5, 2011 at 9:22 PM , Blogger Ann said...

Wow, that is a really nice dinner that you just threw together. Very impressive. I do love having sauce in my freezer.

At April 7, 2011 at 12:20 PM , Blogger Jennifer said...

That looks delicious!!


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