Saturday, March 13, 2010

Weeknight Pasta


Today was one of those days that I couldn’t get anything done. I was leaving all sorts of half done things in the wake of all the things I found myself promising to do for someone else.

After work I started grading, then left a pile of papers on the couch, and started washing the dishes. I took a break to start an e-mail, and let a boiling pot of water for pasta evaporate on the stove at 7:40 pm, because my good sense told me that dinner time was leaving the realm of acceptable time period. At the rate I was going, we were going to be eating dinner in bed.

Around 8 I finally cut up some mushrooms and zucchini, because I knew I wouldn’t have to wait long for those to sauté up in a pan, and I wouldn’t have to add them separately (which meant that I already knew, because of the day I was having, that I was going to be walking away from the stove when I should be lovingly stirring with my wooden spoon).

Mid slice through a mushroom, the girl comes trying to see up onto the counter, and she declares, “I don’t like mushrooms. I don’t want to eat mushrooms.” She had that special whine that only 3-year-olds have when they know you are going to make them eat mushrooms and are just letting you know now, so that you can expect a fight during dinner. I told her that it was not acceptable to talk to me like that, and after the next declarative sentence started, I took her to time out.

A few minutes later I went to get her and asked, “Why did Mommy put you in time out?”

“Because I was being annoying.”

Yes. Yes. That is so exactly right. The girl gets a point.

I cooked up my vegetables, and I had that voice in my head telling me, “Don’t crowd the mushrooms”, and I was crowding them. I was cooking up a mob of mushrooms and I had already thrown the zucchini in there just to get trampled on. Julia would roll over in her grave. But this dinner needed some shortcuts if it was actually going to make it in before the final call.

I popped open the bottle of Four Cheese Rosa Bertolli Sauce I got from the Foodbuzz Tastemaker’s program. Now, I have a particular dislike for bottled pasta sauce. I’m a pasta snob. But let’s get real, here. I was not having any sort of expectations about what this dinner would be. I was on the edge of having a major tantrum about not having been fed and quite willing to make the pregnancy hormones my scapegoat.

Once I got some pasta on a plate and started arranging my photo shoot, I got a phone call, so the man and the girl ate without me. This was the kind of phone call that was definitely keeping me from finishing anything. I missed the whole dinner.

I got off the phone, and their dishes were already in the sink. I sighed, took my photos, and sat down. And I tell you what. I FINISHED that dinner.

My hub told me, “She loved the sauce. She ate it all.”

2 points.

Actually, the sauce was lovely. I admit, it wasn’t chemically like most of the bottled white sauces I’ve tried. I might be able to lay down the snobbery for a couple of weeknight pasta saves.

Weeknight Pasta

  • 1 lb short tubular pasta
  • 1/2 zucchini, thinly sliced into coins
  • 6-8 mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp butter or 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 bottle of Bertolli Four Cheese Rosa sauce (or other desired “pink” sauce)
  • 1/2 C cream or milk
  • 4 roma tomatoes, sliced
  1. Boil pasta according to package directions (reserve 1/4 C water after boiling)
  2. While pasta is cooking, heat a skillet to medium high heat. Add oil or butter as desired. Put in mushrooms and zucchini and saute to desired texture. I like to brown my mushrooms slightly.
  3. Add tomatoes and stir until skins are slightly wilted.
  4. Add pre-made sauce, 1/2 C cream.
  5. When draining the pasta noodles, reserve 1/4 C water from the pot. Put water in the bottle and shake it around to get the rest of the sauce out of the bottle. Add to the pan.
  6. Mix with the pasta and serve (or just serve sauce on top, as desired).


the wicked noodle said...

Cute story! Having a 5 and 3-yr-old at home I can completely relate. The dish looks delish!

Robbie said...

I really like the story, too! I love having bottled pasta sauces for those nights when things just aren't happening the way you'd planned. I've even been really lazy and used Bertoli frozen pasta dishes which have come out pretty tasty (this was when the baby was just born, so that's my excuse for not cooking!) I've never tried any of their bottles sauce, but now I will. :)

Erin Jane said...

Yes yes! I want to make a header! Let me know the specs and what you are looking for and I will make up something really clever for you.

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