Vodka Sauce with Chicken, Italian Salami and Artichokes

Vodka Sauce with Chicken, Italian Salami and Artichokes

One of my friends, Shirley, who knows me well, posted this picture on her facebook page and said it reminded her of one special person, and wondered if that person might recognize herself. I saw it and immediately claimed it.

If you saw our first post on this blog, you know that I’m famous for burning food. I am a good cook, but I just get distracted easily. So the smoke alarm, for many years, was often our dinner bell. One day my eldest son Zach walked into the kitchen as it was billowing with smoke pouring out of the oven. “Mmm mmmm mmm,” he said, “Smells like mom’s home cooking!”

When my second born, Zeke, was about five-years old, I made him a perfectly browned piece of toast. He took it, walked to the trash can and started automatically scraping it with a knife. “Zeke, Honey,” I said, “You don’t have to scrape it today. I didn’t burn it this time!” He looked at me, his eyes wide, and said, “Oh, I thought we always have to whittle our toast.”

Once when my youngest son Gabe was about twelve, he was home from school, feeling sick. I decided to make him some breakfast and put a pan of bacon on the burner to cook. Then I promptly forgot about it and went to take a nice long bubble bath. If it were not for Gabe’s quick action with baking soda and a pan lid, my kitchen could have easily gone up in flames.

Having heard these stories, and seen enough of my absent-mindedness up close, my husband Greg now hovers near when I cook, constantly asking if I remembered to turn off the stove and oven, ready to spring into action at the slightest smell of smoke. My children would agree that I needed, “Someone to Watch Over Me.” Especially in the kitchen. With Greg on the job, they all rest easier.

Today’s recipe is one that I created last week, and I am pleased to report that no kitchen cabinets were burned and no innocent food was scorched in the creation of this dish.

This easy vodka pasta sauce turned out creamy and delicious with lots of flavor layers going on, from the thin salty pieces of Italian salami to the nice bite of the tomatoes and artichokes, to the smoothness of the melted cheese. I learned to make a simple pasta sauce from a New York-Italian friend of mine: it was just lots of fresh grated garlic, a few chopped fresh tomatoes, and about ½ cup of creamy cheese, like a brie or soft Buffalo mozzarella or even cream or goat cheese (or a combination).  You simply melt it all together over low heat, and pour over pasta. This sauce springs from that basic idea, but I’ve fancied it up a bit.

Vodka Sauce with Chicken, Italian Salami and Artichokes

Serves 4

Ingredients:

¼ c. thin Italian style salami diced (any hard salami can be substituted)

1/2 c chopped artichoke hearts (mine were canned in water)

¼ c chopped sun-dried tomatoes

1/2 c. soft white cheese (brie, fresh mozzerela, cream cheese or goat cheese — or a combination)

3 cloves garlic, minced

¼ – 1/2  c. vodka (according to your taste)

1 c. crushed tomatoes or 1 c. fresh tomatoes whirled in blender until as chunky as you’d like in your sauce

1 t. dried oregano or Italian seasoning

1 cup chopped or shredded cooked or roasted chicken

Fresh basil and grated Parmesan cheese  for garnish

Pasta of your choice, cooked al dente  (save some of the pasta water to add to the sauce) to serve four people

 Directions:

While the pasta is cooking (according to package directions), chop the salami and render out the fat in a skillet until it has crisped a little.

Add the rest of the ingredients (except for the chicken,  basil and Parmesan) and stir over medium heat until the cheese melts.

Sauce ingredients tossed in pan ready to be stirred and heated

Add pasta water until it is the sauce is at desired thickness. Finally, add chicken and stir until heated through. Serve over pasta, and garnish with Parmesan cheese and ribbons of fresh basil.

Vegetarian Option: Substitute roasted chick peas for meat and add 1 t. smoked paprika

Vegan Option: Sub roasted chick peas for meat, add 1 t. smoked paprika and sub vegan cream cheese like Tofutti for cheeses

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Vodka Sauce with Chicken, Italian Salami and Artichokes
The URL: http://wp.me/p1UwM9-AN
© Copyright 2012 – All Rights Reserved


Creamy Artichoke Basil Sauce

Artichokes give this sauce its creamy factor without adding any fat.

Motherhood has changed me. We just spent an evening discussing life insurance and wills. I wake up before eight a.m. without an alarm. I no longer pee alone. I don’t shower until noon most days (if I shower at all). And I cook every meal while simultaneously pulling my child out of cabinets, trash cans, and the wash machine … or out from between my legs.

My mom snapped this picture of Jackson last time she was here. He pulls up on my pant legs right behind me and completely immobilizes me. I can’t turn around or squat down to get him or he’ll fall over. Cooking like this is challenging to say the least.

So I love a meal that is quick and easy, but tastes deliciously gourmet. This pasta sauce is exactly that. It takes about five minutes to make and if you pour it over hot pasta, you don’t even have to simmer it. As a bonus, Jackson likes it too, so I can give him little bites of my dinner without making a different meal for him. Mommy and baby approved!

Did I mention there is no cream in this creamy pasta? It’s almost guilt-free, minus the two tablespoons of olive oil. Another bonus for this post baby body!

Rachel’s
Creamy Artichoke Basil Sauce

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 garlic cloves, diced

2 T. olive oil

1 14 oz can of artichoke hearts, reserve liquid

1 1/2 roasted red bell peppers (jarred or make your own*)

A palm full of basil, roughly chopped

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1/4 t. salt

1/4 t. pepper

1/2 t. Italian seasoning

8 oz pasta (I used whole wheat spiral pasta, but any kind you like would be fine)

Directions

In a small skillet, heat garlic and olive oil until garlic is just starting to brown. In a blender or food processor, blend all the ingredients including the sauteed garlic and olive oil. Add reserved liquid** from the artichokes (I think I used about a half a cup) to thin out sauce to desired consistency. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed.

Toss with pasta immediately out of the boiling water. Garnish with a little chopped basil if desired.

*Making your own roasted peppers is easy. Just placing them directly on on a gas burner flame rotating it a few times (like this) or on a pan under the broiler until charred. Then put it in a bowl tightly covered with plastic wrap for a about five minutes. Rub off most of the skin with a damp paper towel. Voila, roasted peppers!

**Pasta water would work great too if you accidentally forget to reserve the liquid from the artichokes. Yes, I speak from experience.

Variations

Stir in chickpeas, sauteed veggies, chicken or Italian sausage (or the vegan versions of these)

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Creamy Artichoke Basil Sauce
The URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com/2012/04/17/creamy-artichoke-basil-sauce/

Sun Dried Tomato & Artichoke Bowtie Pasta

We are proud Texans in this household….

Hook 'Em Horns

Jackson cowboyed up for his first Halloween

…but if I weren’t Texan, I’d be Italian.

My mom would say the same about herself. In fact, I think she may be Italian at heart. She lives on Italian time meandering through the day, disregarding clocks and schedules, stopping for a daily afternoon siesta when she gets the yawns. Like a typical Italian mama, she cooks great big delicious meals for family and friends for any occasion that pops up.

I, on the other hand, may more accurately fit the description of the strong willed Italian. Just now as I was browsing for Italian quotes, I stopped on a t-shirt slogan that said “Always right, never wrong…I’m Italian.” Jared peaked over, and quicker than a stallion shot off, “Hey honey, maybe you are Italian!”

Italian food is as diverse as the people from there (or who wish they were). It can be crazy indulgent or mad healthy. Most dishes can be modified to satisfy a meat lover, vegetarian, or even vegan. A dish can have bright and fresh flavors from lemon and rosemary, deep rustic flavors from tomatoes and olives, or rich creamy flavors from cheeses and cream. Kids love it, adults love it. What’s not to love?

This bowtie pasta dish would be great to serve at your next big family gathering. Feel free to mix up the veggies with whatever you have on hand or toss in some chicken or Parmesan for the meat and cheese lovers at the table.

Rachel’s
Sun Dried Tomato Bowtie Pasta

Ingredients

16 oz of Whole Wheat Bowtie Pasta (The Delallo line of whole wheat pastas are my favorite)
1 can of quartered artichoke hearts
1 6oz  jar of Sun Dried Tomatoes packed in olive oil and herbs
1 small onion, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 yellow squash, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
A couple handful of spinach
3 tbs of white cooking wine
Salt & Pepper
Chopped parsley (optional)

Directions

While prepping the veggies, boil the water and cook the pasta as directed on the box, salting the water liberally.

Chop the veggies and mince the garlic. Julienne cut the sun dried tomatoes, reserving the oil in the jar.

In a large pan, heat about a tbs of oil on med-high heat, add onions and a sprinkle of salt. Sautee until the onions are golden. Add zucchini, squash, and garlic and sautee until soft. Add artichokes, sun dried tomatoes, spinach, and white cooking wine and sautee until spinach is just wilted. Gently toss the drained pasta in with the veggies. Pour in just enough of the oil and herbs from the sun dried tomatoes to lightly coat everything. Season with salt & pepper to taste and garnish with fresh chopped parsley.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Sun Dried Tomato & Artichoke Bowtie Pasta
The URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.wordpress.com/2012/03/15/sun-dried-tomato-artichoke-bowtie-pasta
© Copyright 2012 – All Rights Reserved


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,329 other followers