The more I make pasta at home, the more I realize how versatile and fun it is to cook with. I grew up with rice and love it to death. It's what I normally choose as my starch for every meal but it seems as though pasta is making a space for itself in my heart right next to it.
Growing up, I've always had traditional spaghetti at Hometown Buffet, a restaurant located in San Deigo and in retrospect, I only ate it because my mom always scooped some on my plate. She thought I loved it...but I really didn't because it was so watery and bland. It tasted like noodles in plain tomato sauce.
I didn't take notice of how awesome pasta is perfect to cook with until I started cooking with it myself. Something as little as cooking the noodles in the sauce, allowing for the sauce to stick onto the noodles, and adding some dried herbs, makes the biggest difference in the whole world for taste.
For the dish below, I had a little sausage left over from breakfast. I looked in my cupboard and saw a gazillion cans of tomato sauce and decided to get some action out of them. I also saw a can of clams right next to them and decided to toss them into the mix. What resulted was a gumbo style type pasta that me and my husband, Brian gobbled up in no time. The cayenne and black pepper gave a little kick to the dish and the seafood/meat combination married each other well.
I hope you try this one out. Enjoy!!
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 medium onion diced
4 large cloves garlic minced
2-3'' smoked sausage or keilbasa sliced (the sausage that's shaped like a horseshoe. IGA meat section)
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp cajun seasoning
1/4 tsp black pepper (or to taste)
3/4 tsp salt
3 big dashes cayenne pepper (for heat)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium carrot shredded
2 tbsp lime or lemon juice
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 80z cans tomato sauce
1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
1 10oz can whole baby clams (with juice)
3/4 pack (400g) spaghetti (or 1/2, 200g fr a more saucy pasta)
1 oz cream cheese
1. Heat butter in a pan. medium high heat.
2. Add garlic and onion. Cook until onions are translucent, ~5min. stir occasionally to prevent burning.
3. add sausage and cook for another 2 min or until sausage browns a bit.
4. add olive oil and spices (basil. thyme, cajun seasoning, black pepper, salt, cayenne). stir spices and cook for ~1min. be careful not to burn them. pan should not be smoking.
5. add carrot and cook for another 3min.
6. add lemon juice, wine, tomato sauce, clam juice, and brown sugar.
7. stir and bring to a gentle boil and after lower to lowest heat. Cover and cook until noodles are ready.
8. Bring a pot of water to a boil (do not salt. sausage and clams already contain a lot of sodium). Cook al dente (about 5 min undercooked. noodles will finish cooking in sauce).
9. Add noodles from pot directly to sauce without draining. Add cream cheese. Stir to incorporate. Cook for ~4min or until sauce starts sticking to noodles and noodles have cooked through to desired texture.