When hosting an Italian feast for your family, one has to go for the options that will please the majority . Hence for the pasta I decided to go for a mix of red and white sauce , sometimes called a pink sauce as well. This sauce is brought to life by the addition of lemon zest and lemon juice . This is one keeper of a recipe, trust me on this!
Penne Pasta In Mixed Sauce : Italian Night Menu
For the pasta
500 gm(~1 packet) of Penne Pasta
Water for pasta (enough to immerse the pasta comfortably in it)
For the sauce
2 tbsp butter
1 medium sized onion finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1/2 cup tomato puree
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1.5 cups of cream ( I have used Amul Fresh Cream)
3 handfuls of chopped spinach
Juice of 1 lemon
Grated zest (skin) of 1 lemon
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/2 to 1 cup pasta water
dried herbs : oregano, parsley and basil for taste
Salt and crushed black pepper to taste
For the pasta:
Take a deep & wide pot . Fill it with enough water so that the pasta can be comfortably immersed in it without overcrowding . Put around 2 tbsp or more of salt in the water (to make it almost as saline as seawater) . Bring the water to boil. Once the water has attained rolling boils, add 1 packet ~ 500 gm of penne pasta (you can choose any shape , I prefer penne). Cook on medium heat till pasta is cooked al dente (i.e. it has a slight bite to it) .Do not overcook else it will start to disintegrate and soften.Once done , drain the pasta water, keep around 1/2 to 1 cup of pasta water for sauce. Run cold water over the drained pasta to stop the cooking process. Keep the drained pasta aside .
For the sauce:
Take a non stick wide & deep pan. Put it on medium heat. Add butter to it.
Add chopped onion and garlic once butter is hot. Cook till onions become translucent and soft. Do not let them burn or turn brown.
Add balsamic vinegar and mix.
Add tomato puree, paprika, chili flakes, salt and crushed black pepper.Mix and cook on medium heat for 3-4 minutes.
Add cream to the pan and mix well. Add chopped spinach and bring the sauce to a simmer.As the spinach wilts in the hot sauce, it will get submerged in it. Add the grated Parmesan and stir well.
Add dried herbs, lemon zest and lemon juice. To dilute the sauce add pasta water as and when required.
Adjust salt and add more brushed black pepper as per choice.
Final assembly of pasta
I prefer to assemble pasta just before serving and preferably in small portions.
Heat required portion of pasta sauce in a shallow pan , once it comes to simmer add 1-2 tbsp of pasta water if it needs dilution, then add in the cooked & drained pasta. Stir well and simmer for 2 minutes. Adjust seasoning to choice. Optionally , you can add grated Parmesan, oregano or other dried herbs before serving.
Serve hot .
We have more recipes coming up in the next few weeks from the Italian Night Menu including homemade pizza base ,homemade pizza sauce, Bruschetta and Tiramisu . Stay tuned .Follow Friday Night Column on Facebook/ Instagram/ Twitter to stay updated.
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We have more recipes coming up in the next few weeks from the Italian Night Menu including homemade pizza , bruschetta and Tiramisu . Stay tuned for them.
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