Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Penne in Gorgonzola Sauce

I don't know if I've said this before, but I've given birth to a narcissistic, needy, manipulative ego-maniac. It's a good thing this pint-sized overlord comes in an adorable little package, and that I can't help but instinctively love him, because otherwise he and I would have to take it outside. Most likely he would win - after all, all he has to do is bat his ridiculously long lashes at me and I'm toast - but like I said, he's manipulative that way.

We waged a mini-war last night in our house. God love our neighbors for not running us out of the building with pitchforks. Here's how the drama enfolded.

For the last couple of nights, baby B (aka The Puny Protagonist) has decided that he will no longer be a good boy at night and sleep in his crib. Instead he will only sleep between Mama and Baba, and if we make any attempt to return him to his crib in the middle of the night, he will put on his "how could you do this to me?!" act, and cry constantly till we give in. Of course, it does not bother him in the least that because he is sleeping between us, Mama and Baba hardly get a wink of proper sleep. Because that would imply a smidgen of consideration on his part, which, him being a baby (pffft excuses!), he does not possess.

Anyhooooo, last night we decided that enough was enough, and we're going to implement a thing or two from watching all those episodes of SuperNanny. So after waking up countless number of times during the night to baby B's needy wails, we stuck to our guns, and kept putting him back to sleep in his own crib. Of course, he hated this strategy and let us (and the entire building, I'm sure) know this. But we're the parents dammit, and we finally won one! Around 4:30am, our baby B gave in and went into a deep sleep, while his parents slipped into unconsciousness from sheer exhaustion.

Hence, the scorecard so far is ...

Parents : 1
Baby B: 293

Well, now you know why I'm featuring a pasta dish in this post. After a night like that, only some serious carbs will help alleviate some of the trauma.

Something loaded with fresh basil. *Sniff sniff* - gawd, I love that smell ...

And maybe some creamy dreamy gorgonzola. *Sniff sniff* - urgh, ok, not the best smell, but the flavor is dynamite. And this stinky cheese is the secret ingredient that turns the tomato sauce on this pasta into the best tomato sauce EVER! Imho, of course. I'll explain why in a minute. But first, le recipe.

Penne with Gorgonzola Tomato Sauce (from one of my favorite food photography blogs, Framed - My Life One Picture At A Time)
Serves 5-6

Click here for printable recipe

3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 14.5 oz can San Marzano plum tomatoes, drained, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (or more if you like, and I like!)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temp (I used only half a stick)
6 oz Gorgonzola cheese
1 lb penne pasta
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, then saute for about 4-5 mins. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and basil. Cook until the mixture thickens, stirring, for about 10 mins.

2. Mash the softened butter and Gorgonzola together with a fork, until blended.

3. Cook pasta per the package instructions. Drain and set aside.

4. Whisk Gorgonzola mixture into the tomato sauce, and stir till it all melts. Add salt and pepper to taste. Then pour the pasta directly into the skillet and combine with the sauce. Sprinkle with parmesan and serve (yourself).
Verdict: There are so many reasons why I'm crazy about this recipe. First of all, it's quick and easy, which is very important when you have a baby who only takes short power naps during the day. Secondly, it has blue cheese in it - something I love, and was deprived of during my pregnancy. And finally, because it tastes like my favorite pasta dish that I used to have when I lived in NY. This little Italian place across the street used to serve it, and it was literally the only thing I would always order (for 4 years) from them. It just hit all the right notes for me, and became the best pasta sauce in my eyes - it spelled comfort and home for me somehow. I've never been able to duplicate that sauce, until the moment I tasted this recipe. Now I know I'll always have that little piece of authentic NY Italian with me wherever I go!

My fellow Canadian, The Sweet Kitchen, is hosting another wonderful round-up for Presto Pasta Nights - so I'll be sending this recipe to her right away!