Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Eat Pray Love Me Some Pasta

For the last couple of weeks I was reading a little novel known to you as "Eat Pray Love".

It's actually quite a magical read. I know I know....I was written several years ago. I'm not with the times....or maybe because with all of my interests, I have very little time to actually read. It's been on my list, but I was finally able to savor the adventure. When she arrives in Italy, I swear, I could've been right there too!

Maybe because I have always wanted to go to Italy, since the first time I watched 'Only You' and laid eyes on the ever suave Robert Downey Jr. Or maybe it's because the language of Italy is just so darn sexy, or maybe because of the architecture, literature, and history that dwells within that beautiful country!

I can imagine sitting in an Italian cafe in the midst of gardens and fountains, sipping vino and devouring this rustic Italian dish made with the simplest of ingredients with classic Italian flavors.

Here's what you need for this
Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

1 box of uncooked penne pasta (16 oz)
4 strips bacon, chopped
2 Tbl. minced garlic
1 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes with basil
1/2 cup whipping cream
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbl dried oregano, basil, or Italian herbs/seasonings
2 cups packed FRESH baby spinach leaves

Cook and drain pasta as directed on box. (This is a great recipe to use whole wheat penne). I prefer penne in this recipe, because the ridges really make the sauce "stick". Return to saucepan; keep warm.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon to paper towels to drain. Crumble when cool.

In same skillet, using bacon fat, cook garlic and mushrooms 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are tender.

(Crimini Mushrooms are actually Baby Portobella mushrooms so if your market carries "Baby Bella" mushrooms, that's what you can buy. They're the brown variety, not the white button mushrooms you typically see. They have a nice nutty woodsy flavor. Be sure to get fresh ones!!)

Stir in tomatoes. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in whipping cream; heat just until hot. Do Not NOT allow it to Boil. Add spinach; toss until spinach is wilted.

Season with salt and pepper, and any Italian seasonings. This is your dish, be creative. I prefer Oregano for this sauce.

Sprinkle individual servings with crumbled bacon.

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