...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...
My culinary skills produce more misses than hits, but occasionally I make something that is worth passing on. Please do not ask me about the sole meunière of a few weeks back. $35 dollars worth of fish and half of it wasted. But cooking fish requires delicacy, and I don't do anything delicately. (Well, not unless you ask nicely.)
Rather, I prefer to cook dishes that can be mixed up with a sauce, and served with a big spoon. Like the following one, which is based on a recipe from Le Cordon Bleu Complete Cook: Home Collection.
-¼ cup olive oilStart boiling the water for the pasta. You all know how to make pasta. I would subtract a minute or so from the cooking time to keep it just al dente, because the pasta will continue to cook after you drain the water and mix it with the sauce. You don't want the pasta to get too soft.
-one 12 oz. package of bowtie pasta (aka farfalle)
-one large yellow onion, sliced or chopped, whichever you prefer
-about two thirds of a package of regular mushrooms, pre-sliced (what is that, two cups?)
-half a cup or more of julienned sun-dried tomatoes
-two cloves of garlic, minced
-4 oz. of prosciutto slices
-1¼ cup of Silk or some other plain soy milk
-one cup grated parmesan, or as I like to call it "Farmer John" cheese
-one to two teaspoons of capers
While the pasta water is heating, prepare the sauce. In a large pan, heat the olive oil until a tiny chunk of onion fries immediately when you throw it in. Turn down to medium heat. Then throw the sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, garlic, and the sliced or chopped onion in there. I like chopped onion because sliced onions remind me too much of earthworms after they're cooked.
Fry that stuff until the onions get browned. Be careful with the sun-dried tomatoes, which burn easily. Adjust the heat accordingly. This should take about 2 minutes. Then add the soy milk and the capers. Bring the sauce to a simmer, about another two or three minutes. Then fold in the parmesan cheese. Turn off the heat and cover the pan while you finish with the pasta.
When the pasta is ready, drain it. Then chop the prosciutto slices roughly crosswise into one inch wide pieces. Throw them in the sauce, then pour the sauce immediately over the pasta. Mix the whole thing and transfer to a serving bowl.
There you have it. Simple and fast. The prosciutto goes in last so it will retain some of its color, but eventually the red cooks away. Especially after microwaving the next day, but it still tastes good. Soy milk is a pretty good substitute for the heavy cream called for in the original recipe. I suggest a fresh sourdough baguette and a glass of merlot to go with this meal.