Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Pass the Pasta!

     Macaroni, spaghetti, penne, fusilli...ahhh, the beautiful sounds of pasta!  I like pasta in many different ways.  Cold or hot, plain or with just a little butter, tossed in a cream sauce or a tomato sauce.  It's all good.  But in my personal opinion, whatever kind of sauce a past is served with should be homemade.  Yes, some canned or jarred pasta sauces are really good, but they are also LOADED with unnecessary sodium.  Yuck:(
     I make many types of sauces.  Cream sauce, butter sauce, tomato sauce, and yes...even mayonnaise sauces for pasta.  I don't feel bad about any of them, though, because I know exactly what goes into them, and I can control the amount of stuff that is not so healthy.  I made a special garlic oregano tomato sauce tonight.  It went extremely well with the fusilli, sauteed shrimp, and grilled zucchini!  Give it a try.  Nothing beats homemade!

For the pasta:
8 oz tomato puree
3 TBS lite sour cream
2 TBS butter
2 TBS cream cheese
1 TBS Worcestershire sauce 
2 tsp dried crushed oregano
1 tsp dried crushed thyme
1 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 to 1 tsp black pepper powder
(depending on how much you like pepper)
250 grams fusilli pasta

Grilled zucchini:
Sliced zucchini
Sprinkle of salt
Flat top grill (which I use) or regular grill

For the shrimp:
1 lb baby shrimp
2 TBS butter
215 gram can of whole red pepper with skin removed (drained)

Now, to start, take a drink of whatever suits your mood at the moment.  For me, it was rum shooters (using Pepsi).  If you want a glass of wine, go for it.  Cosmopolitan, more power to ya!  Oh yeah...start your grill and set to a medium temperature.  "Preheat," so to speak:) 

When you have had the desired amount of drink and have started your grill, start your pasta.  I always use Barilla, but any brand works.  The ingredients listed above make the perfect amount of sauce for 250 grams of fusilli pasta.  Add about 1 tsp of salt (if desired) to the water, as this is the only time that you will actually get to flavor the pasta itself.  When you have the pasta over heat and ready to cook, it's time to start the sauce.  Get all of the ingredients, except the cream cheese, and add them to a medium, nonstick pot. 

 Put the pot on the stove over medium-low heat and stir to mix.  Keep stirring until just before the sauce starts to boil...this is when you add the cream cheese.  Add the cheese and stir for a few minutes until the sauce begins to boil.  Once the sauce begins to boil, turn the heat down to low and stir for another minute or two.  Now move on to the shrimp.

Take the red bell pepper that has been drained of the water out of the can and dice until nicely cubed.  Through the peppers in a large nonstick pan (or wok, like me) along with the pound of shrimp, two TBS of butter, and sprinkle of salt.  Set on the oven and start the heat on low.  Let it sit for a couple minutes.

While the shrimp is sitting, getting ready, spray cooking spray on your flat top/regular grill and lay the sliced zucchini in a single layer on the grill.  Spray the top of the zucchini and sprinkle with a pinch of salt.  Excuse the foil on my flat top grill, but those things are incredibly hard to clean.  Foil makes for an easy through away.

Now go back to the shrimp. Stir and mix until the peppers, butter, and shrimp are well combined.  Turn the heat up to medium and keep stirring for another minute or two.  Now go back to your zucchini and flip them over to grill the opposite side.  No more salt is needed, but if you want, you can sprinkle some more salt on the flip side.  Now go to your pasta and turn the heat off, as the pasta should be done.  Do the same with your sauce, and give it a good stir.  Now go back to your shrimp and stir.  The shrimp should be finished, or close to finished, by now.  They should be light pink and almost look translucent.  Make sure not to over cook, though.  Tough shrimp is not good:(  Once the shrimp are done, turn the heat off.  Drain your pasta and then pour it into the pot you boiled it in.  Now pour your sauce over the pasta and stir it all together.  Turn off your grill.  Portion pasta onto plates or into bowls, top with shrimp, and surround with the zucchini.  YUM!!!

If you want an added goody with your pasta, you can make homemade garlic mozzarella bread.  For 6 pieces of sliced bread, take 2 TBS butter and 1 tsp garlic powder and mix well.  Spread evenly over the sliced bread and then top with shredded mozzarella.  Bake at 450 degrees on cookie sheet for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on desired crispiness.  You can also add shredded mozzarella or parmesan to the top of the pasta.

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