Saturday, January 19, 2013

Penne Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce

Before this recipe, I don't think I've ever cooked with sun-dried tomatoes.  Of course my family has had dishes with them at restaurants, but I've never thought to use them at home nor used a recipe that called for them.  Good ol' Pinterest, getting people to try new things (or think about it) one pin at a time. :)

There it is to the right, the picture that convinced me to pin this very recipe over 50 weeks ago.  Now that I'm back to meal planning weekly, besides using trusted family recipes and family favorites we've tried over the years, I also comb through my food board on Pinterest in search of recipes to try out on my family.

This pasta just looks so creaming and tasty, doesn't it?  It must be an amazing recipe with "sun-dried tomato cream sauce" and everything!  That's what I was thinking when I saw this pin!

Being that when we went grocery shopping for the week we chose to go to WinCo, we didn't exactly find sun-dried tomatoes.  I almost gave up hope even attempting this dish until Google came to the rescue of course.  I used a DIY method courtesy of and viola, sun-oven dried tomatoes!  Word of caution, if you decide to go this route, make sure you either start in the morning or do this the day before.  For you working parents, do this on the weekend because it really does suck up majority of the day.  Again, that's if you're going to make your own sun-dried tomatoes at home (using the oven-I'm not sure how fast a dehydrator is).

My results from making sun-dried tomatoes at home
As you can see, I did slice up some tomatoes as if I were going to put them on a sandwich or burger because I wanted some to dry out quicker.  Note: If you do this, cut the slices thick otherwise if they're too thin, they will dry out too fast and then stick to your cookie sheet and burn!

Now for the main event!  Here is the recipe straight from Very Best Baking site:

  • 2 cups (8 oz.) dry penne pasta
  • 8 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 can (12 fl. oz.) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Lowfat 2% Milk
  • 2 cups (8-oz. pkg.) shredded Italian-style four-cheese blend
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
    PREPARE pasta according to package directions, adding sun-dried tomatoes to boiling pasta water for last two minutes of cooking time; drain.  
    MEANWHILE, COMBINE evaporated milk, cheese, basil, garlic powder and pepper in medium saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until cheese is melted. Remove from heat.  
    ADD pasta and sun-dried tomatoes to cheese sauce; stir until combined.  

What the directions fail to mention is that you should remove the tomatoes from the pasta pot before you drain.  If you don't, the tomatoes will mix in with the penne and then you won't have any for your sauce!  When I added the tomatoes, I made sure that I stirred it up a bit first (you know, to prevent noodles from sticking to each other) and when the noodles stopped moving around I added the tomatoes.  Then before I was ready to drain the pasta, I used a slotted spoon to fish out the tomatoes and put them straight into the cream sauce.  Yes, the heat was still on as I did this because I wanted the sauce to thin out more.  After the tomatoes were incorporated then I removed it from the heat.

Sauce ingredients just added to the saucepan
Sauce after it's been cooking for a bit
It didn't dawn on me until I started making the sauce that it was a lot of cheese!  Keep in mind that it at first as you're stirring it, the consistency will be thick and it won't exactly become a "cream" sauce.  Once it cools down, it will harden and will have to be warmed up again to make it easier to spoon onto your pasta.

The final product!

Verdict: It was a hit!  The creamy (and I do mean creamy) sauce was oh-so-delicious and tasty and a hit with my kids!  The husband of course enjoyed it and said it was recipe book worthy!  The next time I make this, I think I'll try adding more milk to help thin out the cheese a bit more, but it was great!


No comments:

Post a Comment