Monday, March 22, 2010

Sun-dried Tomato Cream Sauce

Here is an easy-to-make pasta sauce that is rich, creamy and most of all, full of flavors. The main ingredient in this sauce is sun-dried tomatoes, a staple in Italy but more of a gourmet food item here in the U.S. Originating from Italy, sun-drying tomatoes was a process that was used as a way to store tomatoes for the winter. Sun-dried tomatoes are exactly what its namesake implies: ripe tomatoes that are left out under the sun to dry out. Under the circumstances, these tomatoes can lose up to 90% of its original weight. In fact, if you have excess tomatoes growing in your home garden, it is easy to sun-dry your own tomatoes. For anyone who is concerned about the tomatoes losing its nutritional value after sun-drying, have no fear as the tomatoes are still able to maintain a good level of both vitamins A, C and E as well as its low-sodium, low-fat content.

Getting back to our sun-dried tomato cream sauce, here are the ingredients needed to make it:

8 oz. sun-dried tomatoes (julienned)
2 plum tomatoes (deseeded & diced) - optional
3 fresh basil leaves (or 1 teaspoon of dried basil flakes)
1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
Half an onion (diced)
5 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of ketchup
3 cups of heavy cream
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon of white wine
4 oz. unsalted butter
Salt & pepper to taste

Start off by melting the butter in a saucepan. Add the onions and cook until softened. Next, add the garlic and sun-dried tomatoes. Cook for another minute and then add the ketchup, basil, oregano and white wine. Let the mix simmer for a few minutes and then finally add the heavy cream and Parmesan cheese. Stir, taste and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for about another 10 minutes to let all the ingredients come together.

And there you have it, your very own sun-dried tomato cream sauce that goes very well with any kinds of pasta. I suggest adding pork sausage and spinach to the sauce and pasta. The sauce holds well in the refrigerator for about a week. So making a large batch of maybe a quart will enable you to use it for 2 -3 meals, which should make meal planning for the week much easier.

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