Yesterday I pulled out my favorite cookbook from Beausoleil Books, Half Baked Harvest Super Simple, and I decided I was going to challenge myself. I not only wanted to make a delicious meal, but I wanted to make it beautiful. I chose the Penne Alla Vodka Two Ways Pasta and my own version of a pesto caprese salad. I also decided I was going to make one of the Whisper Room cocktails I created: Raspberry Lemon Dream. It all came out so amazing that I had to take a picture before I dove in!
Penne Alla Vodka Two Ways:
4 tablespoons salted butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup vodka
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil, drained and chopped
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 (1-pound) box penne
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh basil, for serving
I started with adding the butter, garlic, and red pepper flakes over medium-low heat in a large saucepan. I continued cooking, stirring often, and then added Ketel One Vodka (they say to never cook with anything you wouldn't drink). I cooked until the vodka reduced, added my crushed tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, large pinches of salt and pepper, and simmered the sauce over medium heat. After about 12 minutes I transferred my sauce to my blender and allowed it to blend until it was a beautiful orange color and pureed texture. I stirred in my heavy cream and allowed it all to simmer. Meanwhile, I boiled my penne pasta in salted water for 12 minutes. I then drained my pasta, added it to the sauce and mixed it all together. I whipped up my caprese salad on the side using butter lettuce, fresh basil, mozzarella balls, cherry tomatoes, and topped with a pesto, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil.
Finally, for the final touch I topped my pasta with shredded parmesan and began making my cocktail.
Raspberry Lemon Dream:
1.5 oz Belvedere Vodka
5 Muddled raspberries
1 oz Triple Sec
1/2 oz homemade simple syrup
Shake and strain into a martini glass
Voila! That was my yummy Sunday night meal. Stop by sometime to get yourself a Raspberry Lemon Dream and a copy of "Half Baked Harvest Super Simple!"
In April, we will explore Matt Haig's The Midnight Library. In this bestselling literary fiction novel, there exists a library that contains within its volumes all of your possible realities. This library can tell you what would have happened if you had gone to a different college, had not broken up with that old lover, or had the pancakes instead of the waffles for breakfast. Would you visit the library and get lost in its tomes? What if you could return to your reality after having researched all of your best possible outcomes, would you make different decisions? Nora, the protagonist of The Midnight Library, faces these questions, and we can't wait to see what decisions shape her life! We will meet to discuss The Midnight Library on Saturday, April 24 at 11am.
Content Warnings: suicide, cancer, death, drugs, alcohol, depression
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