Sunday, April 20, 2008

Kathleen's Kitchen-Sink Pasta

I've just returned from a month in New Brunswick, Canada, where I was visiting with Mom and celebrating her 80th birthday with her. During the month, I made a point of learning several recipes that captured my attention when they were served. The first that I am going to blog about was prepared and served by my sister-in-law, Kathleen in Boston on my way north. She told me that she invented the dish one night when she had limited ingredients, time and energy. Kath uses a can (or 2)of Mexican Stewed Tomatoes, a product that we can't buy here, even given our proximity to Mexico. I had forseen this difficulty when planning the duplication of the recipe here, so brought with me the can label, complete with ingredients list (minus quantities), enabling me to build the flavorful stewed tomatoes from scratch. I am going to henceforth call it "Jungle Stewed Tomatoes", since I feel I have reinvented it here in the jungle.

Jungle Tomatoes

3 lb tomatoes, boiled, skinned and chopped (with juices)
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped (I kept half of the seeds too)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 stalk celery, chopped
1 tsp sugar
salt, pepper
cumin to taste

I sauteed the onion, jalapeno, celery and garlic for a couple of minutes, then added the cumin, salt, pepper and sugar to the mixture.

Then I added the tomatoes that had been boiled, skinned and chopped, and cooked it all together for another few minutes before using it for this recipe:

Kathleen's Kitchen-Sink Pasta

1/3 package Angel-Hair Pasta
1 batch "Jungle Tomatoes" (recipe above)
1 cup feta cheese or substitute (I used the local "fresh cheese" which is economical and a perfect feta substitute)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
cilantro to taste

After cooking the pasta, toss in the Jungle Tomatoes, feta cheese and cilantro.
Place into baking pan.
Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, just to melt the cheeses.

Serve with salad of your choice.

Everyone I know who has eaten this pasta loves it ... either with the canned version of tomatoes or the fresh. I have raised the proportion of tomatoes to 3 lb in this recipe ... I only used 2 lbs when i made it, and thought it should have more. It depends how much pasta you cook as well. I will not only continue to make this here at home, I will also add it to the menu at Gringo Perdido.


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