WARNING: Do not read the following post if you’re carb-shy at the moment!
For the past couple of days, I’ve had absolutely no desire to cook or bake anything new. Chalk it up to a hectic work week, weather changes, or just sheer lack of motivation. However, I did need to use up some items in my refrigerator before they went bad, namely heavy cream and buttermilk. So, leave it to Ina Garten to inspire me! Case in point: vodka tomato cream sauce (sans vodka).
Ina had Chef Joseph Realmuto on her show recently, and he made Nick and Toni’s Penna Alla Vecchia Bettola. This recipe is really good and simple! But, I did make a few modifications. First, and probably most obvious, I left out the vodka. (Call me crazy, but I’m a tequila girl.) Instead, I left in the liquid from the can of tomatoes. Second, I only used one 28-ounce can of tomatoes. Finally, I didn’t have crushed red pepper flakes, so I used chili powder instead. Is that strange?
Anyway, this looked fun to make because you get to crush the tomatoes by hand and squeeze them directly into the pan! Watch out because the first tomato will squirt and take you by surprise. Another interesting technique about this recipe was baking the sauce for an hour and a half in the oven before adding the cream. When the sauce had baked down to its flavorful essence, I gave it a quick blend and poured in the heavy cream. The sauce looked so tempting at this point that I had to taste a couple of spoonfuls straight from the pan. It was delicious!
When I poured the cooked angel hair pasta into the sauce, it turned out that I probably needed to use the second can of tomatoes as the sauce did not completely cover each strand like I would have liked. But, it tasted amazing nonetheless!
Chef Realmuto gave another tip that I found helpful. If you don’t use Parmesan cheese that often, buy it in block form. The shredded package stuff loses its flavor and potency quicker than the block. Good tip!
To round out this pasta dish, I made a pound cake that uses buttermilk from gourmetsleuth.com. Score! This recipe did not call for a crazy amount of eggs which I found odd because don’t all pound cakes use several eggs? Instead, this recipe used one whole egg and two egg whites. The batter came together easily enough and baked nicely.
As for the taste, the cake itself was delicious but not as dense or as moist as a normal pound cake. When you took a bite, the tearaway quality of the cake was similar to the feel of angel food cake. Just a slight feel of stickiness and resistance. I suppose both characteristics can be attributed to the lack of eggs in the batter. But, I enjoyed this cake immensely! I think I’ll serve this with berries instead of angel food cake.