Pasta

30 Minute Alfredo with Sun Dried Tomatoes

No matter how much I try to come up with a unique or different recipe, I always end up coming back to pasta.DSC_0199

When I first started making my own Alfredo sauce, I was a kid, so I didn’t really know what I was doing. All I knew was that if Ina could make it, so could I. I started with butter and way too much flour in the pan then added milk and whatever processed cheese Mom had in the fridge. And it was SO GOOD.

Correction: It was not good.

I wanted so desperately for it to be creamy and delicious and not seize up the second it started to cool down. Being the kid I was, I pretended it was just that. I pretended that it was the best thing anyone had ever created in the kitchen. I looked past the chalky, grainy texture and I kept telling myself how awesome it was.

Seeing the congealed blob in the fridge the next day didn’t do much for my confidence in the kitchen, but it did make me more determined to create a better, more edible sauce, if we’re being honest here.

Join me in the future now, where my sauce is no longer grainy nor chalky. Its silky, rich and smooth texture is what I wanted to achieve all those years ago. Its creaminess is what makes me keep coming back for more.

I tried to make this recipe as easy as possible, while keeping the number of ingredients to a minimum. This isn’t a recipe you’ll need to make a grocery trip for, because most of the ingredients are probably already in your kitchen.

The only thing I don’t always have on hand is heavy cream, but it’s not a necessary component (especially if you’re watching your calorie intake). I’ve made this plenty of times without cream and it’s just as good.

I also use linguine for this. As much as I love pasta, fettuccine noodles have always been too thick for me. So any kind of pasta you have is fine.

Start by melting the butter in a skillet or saucepan. Add the flour and cook for just a few minutes. The only reason you’re adding flour is so the sauce thickens. So because we don’t want to actually taste the flour, it’s important that it cooks.

To keep the sauce as smooth as possible, I don’t chop the garlic. I crush a few cloves with the side of my knife and take them out before i’m ready to serve.

Carefully add the milk and cream while whisking out any lumps. Once the sauce thickens, you’ve made a Bechamel sauce (with some garlic). Congrats!

Go ahead and add salt and pepper at this point. Some people will say to wait until you’ve added your cheese, but we’re only adding one kind of cheese here, so it won’t be over salted.

And while we’re talking about cheese, you want a good quality kind. The cheese is the main flavor in the dish so you want it shine through. Grating it straight from the block or wedge is your best option.

The most important step is next. You have to take your pan off the heat before you add the cheese. Remember that grainy sauce from earlier? This is where that happens. You can always put it back on the heat after the cheese starts to melt.

Add those sweet, tangy sun dried tomatoes and you’re done!

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30 Minute Alfredo Sauce with Sun Dried Tomatoes

  • Servings: 4-5
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese, shredded or grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons sun dried tomatoes

Directions

  1. In a medium pan over medium heat, melt butter. Add flour and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes.
  2. Slowly add in milk and cream. Whisk out any lumps of flour. Salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Take pan off the heat and add Parmesan. Once cheese is mostly melted, you can put it back on the heat to keep the sauce warm.
  4. Remove garlic cloves and stir in tomatoes.

Bolognese Inspired by Blue is the Warmest Color

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Has anyone seen Blue is the Warmest Color? During my last semester of college, I took a film class in which we watched some pretty unique and foreign movies. I never cared too much about movies until I was exposed to other elements about film in general. You know, the “cinematography.”

It follows a 15 year old named Adéle and her love life throughout her early 20s. A handsome guy from her high school seems to fall for her pretty hard, but that one sided romance is soon interrupted by a blue haired girl that Adéle eyes in the street. They eventually cross paths again at a bar, where Emma, the blue haired babe, is with her friends and girlfriend. That’s all you need to know, really. Besides the fact that the French create their films in an entirely different way than we do, and that the movie is NC-17. You’ve been warned.

Food continues to be an incredibly important factor throughout the whole movie. One of the first scenes in the three hour long film is Adele eating this succulent looking pasta dish with her parents. Adéle doesn’t really seem to have many table manners. She chews with her mouth wide open, she talks with food in her mouth. And believe me, I am definitely one of those who cringes at the noise coming from a loud chewer. But I COULD NOT help but watch Adéle. Maybe it was because the frames are so close to her mouth, but her mannerisms symbolize something deeper.

Some people would probably say “Oh this just symbolizes her love and adoration for Emma.” I have to disagree. The way Adéle devours her food, the way she hides a box of candy under her bed for those miserable, confusing, “I don’t know what my sexuality is” nights. It’s because she’s missing something from her life but doesn’t know what. So she fills that void with food. Who can blame her?

Enter Spaghetti Bolognese. It appears several times in the film, which makes it even more captivating, for me at least. The first time, Adéle is scarfing it down with her calm and collected parents. About half way through the movie, Adéle has Emma over for dinner and her dad makes…you guessed it. Bolognese. Adéle also meets Emma’s parents, but they eat oysters. Just a scene or two later, Adéle prepares the dish for a handful of Emma’s pretentious, artsy friends. Food also represents the fact that *SPOILER* their relationship won’t withstand the test of time. Oysters seem to come with an elegant and fancy manner about them, while pasta and tomatoes and relatively cheap. 

So because I feel like food is such an important factor in understanding their relationship, I decided to create a bolognese recipe on my own. Little did I know that my mom had been feeding me a very similar dish when I was little, and it’s still one of my favorite dishes she continues to make.

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For this bolognese, I used a can of whole tomatoes crushed up with my hands. You can also use chopped tomatoes, but I like the rustic look of the whole ones. I kind of cheated and used some tomato sauce from a jar because it honestly looked like just some beef and tomatoes in a pot. But whatever it tasted awesome.

I used whole milk for this, but you can use whatever kind of milk you want. As for the wine, I didn’t plan on adding any, but I was drinking some as I was cooking this, so some just kind of happened to make it in the pot… It was Sauvignon Blanc, but as long as it’s dry, it will work.

It’s also not 100 percent necessary to let the sauce cook for a long time, but it will definitely benefit from it. Spaghetti sauce is one of those things that gets better the longer it cooks. So if you’re starving, take a ladle full from the pot but let the rest keep cooking. I’d say it needs at least 30 minutes though to let those flavors *develop.*

It’s here that the rest is up to you. Dump it on spaghetti. Freeze it. Share it.

All of this aside though, Blue is the Warmest Color shows us that food isn’t just an essential to living, it has the possibility to mean so much more. I think you should watch it make your own decision on what food symbolizes in the movie. Or if you think I’m over analyzing it. That’s possible too. Let me know in the comments!

Bolognese

  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 28 oz can tomatoes, whole
  • ¾ tomato sauce
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ cup dry wine (I used white but you can definitely use red)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Parmesan
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Under medium heat, add carrots, onions and celery in a medium to large pot with a few tablespoons of oil. Cook about 10 minutes.
  2. Add meat and cook till brown. 7-8 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, pour tomatoes in a bowl and squeeze with your hands till the tomatoes are broken into pieces.
  4. Pour tomatoes and tomato sauce into meat and vegetable mixture. Stir.
  5. Blend in milk, wine, tomato paste and bay leaf.
  6. Still on medium heat, bring to boil and cook for about 15 minutes. Then reduce to lowest heat setting and simmer for several hours.
  7. Top with parmesan and enjoy.