Saturday, 7 July 2012

Carrie Cooks: Penne alla Sorrentina

Over a month ago I purchased some delicious (dried) foods from Italia. Finally I'm getting around to cooking with them. I was aiming for a light-ish, healthy-ish lunch today as I'm heading out for a mammoth meal tonight (more on that later).

I am also in lazy Saturday mode so it had to be simple. I decided to go basic with a creamy / garlic prawn dish. When I got home and played with things I already had in the cupboard (so likelihood is, you will too) it became immense.

For Penne Alla Sorrentina you will need:
1) Dried or fresh pasta. I used jumbo tricolore penne from Sorrento
2) Fresh (canned may work) tomatoes (3 large on the vine, equivilent of cherry will work)
3) Garlic (two cloves)
4) Dried / mixed spices
5) Prawns (other meat, veg or nothing will also work)
6) Cream cheese (c. 100g)
7) Coriander
8) Half a lime (Feel free to use the other half as a garnish for your diet coke!)
9) Oil (I used extra virgin olive oil with chili, but whatever you have in the cupboard, as long as it's not spray)

First off, get your pasta on the boil if it's dry as this will take around 20 minutes...which is about the time you need to do everything else. Before I added the water I added a good slug of oil to the pan firstly to stop sticking but also to give the pasta a nice flavour.

Soften some dried/mixed spice in some water and leave to the side for now (this is what you can see in the small ramekin in the above picture). Chop your tomatoes and garlic ready for the frying pan. Put a good glug of oil into a hot pan (about 80% of the 'hottest' setting). Drain as much of the water from your spices as possible and chuck these in. Then add your tomatoes and garlic with a good season of salt (Maldon sea salt for me) and black pepper.

Give it a good stir, and stir your pasta while you're at it. Next add your prawns to your tomatoes. If you are using another meat that takes time to cook, prepare this first then add it. Give your prawns and tomatoes a couple of minutes so the prawns are firming up and tomatoes simmering down.

Next add about 100g of cream cheese. I had light Philadelphia. Stir until it is all going a lovely creamy consistency with the tomatoes. Add a good handful of chopped coriander and a good squeeze of lime.

Drain your pasta and return to the pan. Now add your frying pan of ingredients to the pasta and mix it all together. Plate it up and add another squeeze of lime and coriander to garnish.

Simple but probably the best pasta dish I've ever made at home. Best bit? These are mostly things you have in the house all the time AND you don't have to feel bad as it's mostly pretty good for you. Go a bit easier on the oil if you are really watching the calories.

buon appetito!

PS I know Penne alla Sorrentina is probably a real recipe completely different to this, but since my ingredients are from Sorrento I just went with it, good enough name as any.
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