Monday, January 07, 2013
Posted by: Justine
So for Christmas, I bought Zach some really cool bags of pasta. I actually found them at Homegoods! Surprise! Homegoods is so amazing sometimes, don’t you think? Actually, it’s amazing all of the time. I could get lost and go broke all at the same time in that store. Well this pasta is equally as amazing. It comes straight from Italy and is packed full of flavor and deep color. The best part about this pasta is the fact that they used some crazy ingredients to get the colors they desired. Hints of spinach and beets permeate your palette through this pasta. It’s truly divine. We had to do something special with it. According to the package the pasta we used was Stella Alpine, so we made a Stella Alpine with Tomato, Basil and Cream Sauce!
This pasta is so colorful, that I didn’t even want to eat it! It’s so pretty! I have seen tri-color spirals before, and I have seen homemade pasta ribbons before that were multi-colored, but I’ve never actually seen them sold in the store. I do know that many specialty kitchen and gourmet stores sell it, but if you can’t find something similar, just use tri-color spirals. You will totally get the same result. Or, you could just make it yourself! Hm – well there is an idea! I also bought little heart shaped ones =), but we are saving those for a special day. Stella Alpin(a) is actually a real flower, but this pasta mimics it so well that I’m pretty sure that’s where they got the name from!
We have to thank Zach for this recipe. He is so good at sauces and “Italian-American” dishes that I put him semi-in charge of this one. He really did produce. I didn’t want something super acidic like your everyday tomato-marinara sauce, and I didn’t want a super heavy cream sauce. I thought it would take away from the flavors of the pasta and the colors. We wouldn’t want the colors to get dull now would we!
This recipe combines both tomato and cream into one so it tones down the acidity while still having a tomato(y) flavor, and has enough cream into it to get the consistency that I want, but doesn’t overpower. If you are looking for something a little bit heavier, I would increase the amount of heavy cream by 1/2 a cup, but if you are looking for something even lighter, than diminish the amount by 1/2 a cup. That’s what is so great about this dish, you can make it exactly the way you want.
For the beer pairing with this dish, we went with Founder’s Centennial IPA. It’s not just because the pasta is shaped like a flower, and this IPA pretty much tastes like a flower. Although, I like to think this is the reason because it sounds really cool =). Because this dish does have some acidity due to the tomato paste, a bitter beer tones down the amount of acidity. Thus, the dish tones down the bitterness of the beer. And even though we love the bitterness of this beer, sometimes it can be overwhelming. So if you really aren’t into IPA’s, give it a shot with an acidic pasta dish. It may just change your mind! We like Founder’s because we can’t get it in CO. We brought it back on our last trip to PA. It comes out of Michigan, so you will probably be able to get it if you live in the Northeast/Midwest. If you can’t get it any floral(y) IPA will do the trick!
Well we hope you enjoy this dish as much as we did. It’s really easy and heats up really well. Enjoy!
- 1 lb stella alpine (or other colorful/tri-color pasta)
- 6 strips of bacon, diced
- 2 small yellow onions, diced
- salt and pepper
- 8 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 cups white wine
- ½ cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
- 1½ cup frozen peas
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup heavy cream
- fresh parmesan and basil for garnish
- In a large saute pan, over medium heat, fry up the bacon pieces. Once brown and crispy, remove from heat with a slotted spoon (making sure you leave 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease in the pan) and place on a paper towel lined plate.
- Turn your heat down to medium-low and add the onion to the saute pan. Cook the onions, along with a dash of salt and pepper, until they are tender and soft, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and let cook for 1 to 2 minutes more.
- At this point you can add your white wine. Reduce to about half of the original amount, while scraping any brown bits off the bottom of the pan (about 20 minutes).
- Once the wine has reduced, add the basil, oregano, thyme and peas. Let cook for about 3-4 minutes, or until the peas have heated up, but aren’t mushy. Mix in the tomato paste and let cook for 1-2 minutes more. Then add in the heavy cream and mix to combine. Turn your heat down to low and let simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large stockpot, cook your pasta according to manufacturers instructions, or al dente. Strain the pasta and add to the saute pan and mix to combine.
- You can now add the bacon back to the pan, and mix to combine.
- Serve with parmesan cheese and some basil. Enjoy!