Monday, April 4, 2016

Summer Pasta: Margherita Pasta Sauce over Capellini

I created this light and easy sauce recipe about 3 years ago, when hubby and I moved into our home, the first home we have ever owned.  Instead of one of us running to the grocery store for a jar of sauce for our pizza that night, I used what we had on hand - and it's become my signature summer pasta sauce - it's light, meatless, packed with bright, sweet flavor.  And it takes all of 30 minutes to make, maybe a little less if you have a handy-dandy bean masher, which just so happens I do.

Easy to make for a crowd but perfect for a few servings, this can be a great dish for a brunch or a side dish for a BBQ.  It's super versatile which makes it one of my go-to meals, I'd eat it every day or two if I had my choice.

1 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes ($1)
1 sweet bell pepper, red, orange, or yellow, rough chopped or quartered ($.20)
3 cloves of garlic, minced ($.15)
2 T. each olive oil and butter ($.50)
1/4 C. white wine (I use pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc) ($.25)
1-2 T. dried basil ($.10)
1/2 tsp. fennel seed, optional ($.05)
salt and pepper ($.05)
2 T. heavy cream, optional ($.05)
1-2 T. parmesan cheese ($.15)
1/2 lb. capellini pasta ($.40)

Cook pasta according to package directions to al dente.

Add olive oil and butter to a small cast iron pan over medium heat.  Once the butter is melted, add in the whole tomatoes, rough chopped bell pepper and minced garlic.  Cook over medium-high heat, covered, until the tomatoes start to pop and split their skins.  When most of the tomatoes are soft, use a bean mashed to break up the tomatoes.  Stir in basil and fennel, season with salt and pepper.  Once the tomatoes have cooked down, about 1-3 minutes, stir in the white wine a few tablespoonfuls at a time, letting the wine cook down before adding more.  Finish the sauce with parmesan and heavy cream, add in capellini pasta, cooked al dente, along with a few tablespoons of pasta water, toss well to coat, cook an additional 1-2 minutes, and serve.

You can top with mozzarella cheese or provolone, if desired, for a baked pasta entree.
Yields: 2-3 servings
Cost: $2.90
Cost per serving: $.98-$1.45