Sunday, September 2, 2007

Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce


(photo: colonialtymesrestaurant.com)
It was a few years ago and we flew from California to Philadelphia to attend the wedding of a young couple, friends. They'd met in San Diego, actually sailed with us on our boat one afternoon soon after they'd met. He was, is, a Navy pilot and close with dear friends of ours from Philadelphia. We thought they made a fine couple and wished them much happiness. The groom's mother prepared a lovely feast for the rehearsal dinner. There were many hands helping in the kitchen, mine among them, and I fell in love with this incredibly easy side dish (or, it could be a main dish as is, or add some protein of some kind too).
I watched as MaryAnn made this sauce - she opened cans of chopped tomatoes, cubed up some cream cheese, chopped some basil, added a tad of wine vinegar, fresh garlic, and olive oil. All this was stirred up in a very large bowl, covered with plastic wrap and left to sit out for about 6 hours. The flavors developed, obviously and the cream cheese kind of dissolved, sort of. At serving time she made a heap of hot penne, combined the sauce and poured it onto a very large platter with additional basil and sprinkled the real-thing Parmesan cheese and it was done. The total amount of actual work in this is about 5 minutes. (I'm not counting the time to cook the pasta, of course.) Maybe 10 max. If you need to hold the sauce for longer, put it in the refrigerator. Just bring it back to room temp before serving. The dish can be served at room temp, actually, but I think it's best hot.

And I'll tell you, this is absolutely fabulous. I've made it many, many times since. It's a cinch for guests. Tastes beyond good. This one is going onto the top FAV's down my right column. It's that good. Thank you, MaryAnn.

Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce
Recipe: MaryAnn Quinn, a friend of a friend in Philadelphia
Serving Size : 10 (as a side dish, 4 as main dish)
2 cans tomatoes, canned -- diced with juice
8 ounces cream cheese -- cubed
2 cloves garlic -- minced
1 bunch basil -- minced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 pound penne pasta
1. Combine all ingredients (except pasta and cheese) in a large bowl, cover and allow to sit for several hours at room temperature.
2. Boil pasta just until barely tender, drain, add sauce to pasta, stir and pour into a large serving bowl. Sprinkle cheese on top and additional basil, if desired.
NOTES : This takes about 5 minutes to prepare the sauce and it's DONE! You can use any kind of pasta, but choose one that will hold some of the sauce (i.e., not linguine or spaghetti) in its crevices. These days it seems odd to let food sit at room temp for several hours, but when I was first served this, it was left out and later served to 30 people without a problem. A double batch was JUST enough (small servings) for 30 with an entree, green salad and ample appetizers. My favorite tomatoes are Muir Glen fire roasted, but any brand will really be fine. Muir Glen is carried at Whole Foods.
Per Serving: 383 Calories; 22g Fat (50.8% calories from fat); 11g Protein; 36g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 31mg Cholesterol; 239mg Sodium. Exchanges: 2 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 4 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.
To view a printable recipe, click title at top.

1 comment:

Kalyn said...

It does sound beyond fabulous! Going right into my del.icio.us cookbook for sure.

I agree, the Muir Glen tomatoes are great!