Drunken Tuscan Pasta

  

Over the years we have gone through some phases when it comes to cooking. Or at least with where we were getting our recipes. We used to watch a lot of the shows on the Food Network, one of which we seemed hooked on was Rachel Ray’s 30 Minute Meals. Hooked enough to even buy one of her cookbooks. And we used it fairly regularly. Not exclusively but enough. But then we got out of that phase and it has been several years probably since I last used that cookbook. Lately I’ve been trying to use more of the cookbooks/magazines I have to find recipes rather than the way I’ve been doing it which is just randomly coming across things on the Internet. 

Which led me to pull of the shelf the Rachel Ray book – Express Lane Meals.  And led me to decide on this recipe for Drunken Tuscan Pasta. This is a recipe I’ve made before, with pretty decent success. In looking at the page in the book my wife gave it two stars. Instead of re-typing the whole thing for you I managed to find it online. You can access the recipe here.  Now in making this recipe this time, I intended to cut it in half which I sort of did. 

The “drunken” part of this is that the noodles are boiled in a mix of water and red wine. Add the red wine to the pot and then add enough water to make what you would normally have for pasta. So, since I was cutting back the spaghetti to be only a half pound instead of a whole pound, I used half a bottle. And my wine wasn’t a “Tuscan” wine but rather just a basic red blend – Apothic Red. 

I chose to use bacon in place of the pancetta as I had a partial pound of bacon left from the last meal I made. I probably used about 1/4 of a pound of the bacon, chopping it before cooking it.  So that part wasn’t cut in half but more bacon never hurt anyone. I also used 8 ounces of sliced mini-Bella mushrooms. I’m not sure how that shakes out to be half (or not) of the portobello mushroom caps but it worked. 

I used about a teaspoon of dried rosemary and 2 cloves of garlic. I skipped the red pepper flakes. I used a few grinds of pepper from the pepper mill and a few shakes of nutmeg. For the greens I used spinach and took two decent handfuls which I estimated was about 2 cups. And I estimated the Parmesan cheese. Oh, and I still used a few ladleful a of the pasta liquid. 

Then I tossed it all together and off we went. I did add some extra Parmesan cheese when I ate it but took the picture prior as the cheese would cover it all up. It was a good dish. Not spectacular but still a decent meal. The girls liked it although they picked the mushrooms out. They thought it was funny that they were “eating” wine even though they were just kids. 

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