My copy of Ina’s latest cookbook, Barefoot Contessa Foolproof, arrived today. I admit I have all her cookbooks thus the first name basis. Her recipes are delicious but her lifestyle even more so. I love the kitchen, herb garden, gay posse and absentee husband. Browsing through the cookbook I came upon the recipe, Penne Alla Vecchia Bettola. It is a fancier termed Penne Alla Vodka. I like these types of pasta recipes because it tastes great on its own and also serves as a good base to hide leftovers.
And leftovers I have. They have to be used up before my trip to Asia. I have some fresh chicken sausages from Whole Foods, limp looking Italian parsley, dried shell pasta, can of San Marzano whole tomatoes, 3/4 jar of Trader Joe’s organic basil pasta sauce, two somewhat dried up onions and sprouted garlic. Before you give up on me I do have a beautiful block of parmesan reggiano bought from Epicure Imports in LA. With REAL parmesan reggiano I can rescue any pasta dish. Pecorino romano is cheaper and works wonders too.
I executed Ina’s recipe except in the final steps I added to the braised tomato sauce sauteed chicken sausage deglazed with a bit of Trader Joe’s organic chicken broth. The Italian parsley added some brightness and balanced out the heavy cream. I am sure the fresh oregano makes the sauce more herby but this version was great too. The shell pasta was perfect as it scooped up globs of sauce and I like my pasta saucy.