cooking, Dinners, food, Recipes

Macaroni Grill Copycat Pasta Pomodoro Yummmm

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Here is how I made this awesome, beautiful copycat version of Macaroni Grill’s Pasta Pomodoro. This dish only has 5 ingredients! It would be amazing and very impressive for a date night. Pair this with a simple salad like a Cesar and some crusty french bread and you just can’t top it. A nice Chianti or red wine would pair nicely with this rich, red sauce.  It’s my go to pasta dish when I want something quick and semi healthy! 😉

So here we go:

Pasta Pomodoro
Ingredients:
4-6 fresh tomatoes, chopped (I used 4 small campari tomatoes and 1 heirloom)
2 Tablespoons of fresh garlic, chopped (or less if you’re not a fan)
1 small bunch of fresh basil, chiffonade
1/4 cup of your favorite marinara or tomato sauce
1/2 – 1 pound Angel Hair Pasta
Other pantry ingredients: good olive oil, kosher salt or any sea salt

Start a pot of boiling water for the pasta and while that’s going, start on your sauce.

Start with your pan on medium heat and add about 2 Tablespoons of the olive oil. Also add the garlic at this time and WATCH it. Stir often and watch it soften for just about a minute or less. You do NOT want to brown it. Browned garlic is bitter and not good.

The garlic will infuse the oil and it will make this dish YUM! After about 30 seconds to 1 minute swirling the garlic around, add the tomatoes. You can stir occasionally. We are just trying to infuse the tomatoes with the garlic oil and break them down a little so they are soft and flavorful.

After about 5 -8 minutes you can add the marinara/tomato sauce. This helps the sauce to have a richer flavor.  If the tomatoes look like they are drying quickly, turn your heat down and add the sauce sooner. I personally LOVE the Victoria Trading Company Marinara Sauce Old World Style. This is an AMAZING sauce! If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend it! Here’s a picture:

Victoria Marinara Sauce Old World Style

After adding the sauce, you can add 1/2 of the basil so those flavors can meld together. Add the pasta to your boiling water and after about 7 minutes it should be al dente. Use tongs to add the pasta to your sauce and toss. Also at this point you can taste your sauce to see if it needs any salt.  Top and mix with the rest of the fresh basil. (Optional: add some fresh grated Parmesan or pass it at the table) – I don’t think it needs it, but hey, if you like it that way, go for it!

Serve with your side of salad and a warm french bread! This is also a terrific side dish for Chicken Marsala or Chicken Piccata.

This takes me back to when my sister and I would go to the Macaroni Grill for lunches and get the 1/2 and 1/2. I think my recipe is pretty darn close to the real thing!

I hope you enjoy it and please give me a shoutout or comment if you try it!

Happy Cooking & Mangia!

Charlene

 

 

 

 

Desserts, Dinners, Meal Planning, Recipes

Meal Plan Week #2

HEARTY TUSCAN SOUP WITH PARMESAN CROUTONS

ASIAN CHICKEN LETTUCE WRAPS

CHICKEN, BACON & RANCH PIZZA

EASY WEEKNIGHT CHILI (FOR ROCKCROK XL

CREOLE GUMBO WITH CORNBREAD MUFFINS  (5 star recipe!)

CREAMY LEMON-PESTO CHICKEN & LINGUINE

BRUSCHETTA PASTA

And for dessert….

MINI CLASSIC VANILLA BUNDT CAKES

OR

EASY FUDGE BROWNIES

Click HERE for entire grocery list! Hopefully this will save you some time in the kitchen. I am also hoping you will enjoy these healthy, quick meals. Stick around to see Week #3’s meal plan too! xoxo

Happy cooking,

Charlene

 

Uncategorized

Authentic & Yummy Pasta Carbonara

So I’ve been in search of a great Pasta Carbonara. Something that reminds me of my honeymoon in Italy. That first night, when we arrived late because our flight was delayed, we missed the meeting with our travel group, asked the front desk for a local restaurant…and we enjoyed probably the BEST food we had the whole trip! Yummy Pasta carbonara,  bruschetta and red wine! (Heaven on earth) So I found this recipe on Pinterest and made a couple modifications and it was definitely close to our Italian experience! Now if only I can recreate that delicious Italian bread and bruschetta!

Here are the ingredients:

  • 8 ounces pasta – I love to use Tortiglioni or a large rigatoni (something imported from Italy!) but you can use spaghetti noodles (1/2 pound)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 7 slices bacon, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; reserve 1 cup water and drain well. You can leave the al dente pasta in the water to stay hot.
In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, a small pinch of salt and Parmesan; set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes; leave excess fat (I only used about 1/2). Set aside bacon.Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium low.

Working quickly, stir in pasta and egg mixture, and gently toss to combine; wait to season with salt because the bacon and Parmesan will add salt and you don’t want it to end up being too salty. Toss in bacon. At this point keep stirring and do not let your heat get too high. The sauce might look runny at first but it will “tighten” up as it cooks. This allows the eggs to get to a safe temperature. Kind of like when you make Hollandaise sauce.  You will only cook it for a few minutes more. If the heat is too high or you cook it for too long your eggs may scramble.

Only add the reserved pasta water if your sauce gets too thick for your liking.

*Optional*Add reserved pasta water, one tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.
Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired. I also top it with fresh grated Parmesan and a little fresh ground pepper which is how it’s served in Italy! It’s so delicious!  Enjoy and leave me some love if you like it! 🙂

Pasta Carbonara - www.sweetpiecesbyme.com