Recipe #69: page 51 in the latest issue of "What's Cooking" magazine or
Now that I've finished two courses already this semester, and haven't had any hours at work all week, I decided I'd cook dinner tonight. I've done a bit of cooking since my last post, but haven't been in the mood to blog my efforts. You didn't miss anything spectacular.
As I was walking home from the bus today, I was dreaming of a gastronomical trip to Italy. Oh, what I wouldn't give for a week of unlimited pasta and pizza done right! Italian is my first foodie love - and before you call me a copycat, I had my fantasy long before Eat, Pray, Love was written. Sadly, for now, I'll have to settle for something a little more local.
When I got home, I found the new issue of Kraft's "What's Cooking" publication and flipped through it for ideas. Lo and behold - pasta! and there's no seafood in this one, hooray! Often, they ruin the recipe with gross things like peppers, onions, or seafood, but I lucked out tonight. Off to the grocery store.
I made but a few modifications in my version: I didn't find cheese ravioli at the store so I bought cheese with spinach, figuring the addition of spinach is a really healthy idea. I found a package of sliced mushrooms on sale so I cut them up a bit smaller and used them too. I didn't see the Extra Virgin Olive Oil version of the dressing so I opted for Calorie-Wise instead. Cherry tomatoes haven't been seen out here for a while so I bought grape ones. I used about 1/8 cup of squeeze-tube basil that I already had on hand (added to pot at same time as tomatoes and mushrooms), and I grated a bunch of mozzarella cheese into a bowl without measuring it. The meatatarian loves cheese so more is always better.
I had the water for the pasta on the burner first, but it seemed to take a really long time to heat up, as in long after I was finished with the rest of the dinner. Turns out the burner wasn't properly plugged in and the residual heat in it was from the oven. Might want to check yours before you start.
I chose to cook the mushrooms, basil, tomatoes and dressing for a bit longer than the suggested time of 2 minutes because the mushrooms needed to soften. Because of my burner problem, it worked out that I had lots of cooking time. I also seem to have lots of dressing left so maybe you'll want to put a little less into your verison.
Overall, this recipe is really nice. I especially enjoyed sampling the hot tomatoes with basil while they were cooking - divine! It's not quite Italy, and I don't profess to be as good a cook as my friend, the Italian Chef, but it's hot pasta on a night I was craving it so it's perfect for me. Better yet, it's STILL light out at 6:30pm!