I got to do something pretty exciting yesterday! I joined the brilliant planners and participants for the 2nd Annual Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge for a little meet-and-greet. The Vegan Chef Challenge (“VCC”) is a month-long event here in Sacramento in which a bunch of restaurants have agreed to provide a vegan menu. They’ll make an appetizer, entree, and dessert different than what they have on their normal menu, just for the challenge.
So for the month of October, I will be dining out more than usual to see what these fantastic chefs come up with! For the next couple of weeks, I’ll be interviewing some of the participating chefs to hear their thoughts. I’ll post the interviews I conduct (hopefully with a recipe!), so watch for those. Look for the rest of the interviews on the VCC website, or on the other participating bloggers’ sites: LimeTreeLife, What Runs Lori, and Eat Well Live Free.
Okay, now onto food!
I must start by saying thank you, Rachael Ray, for this beautiful idea. My “drunken” pasta was cooked in wine. That’s right. Boil wine, cook pasta in it.
I’m pairing this pasta with a really simple sauce. It’s almost the end of tomato season! Sad. But this is a simple way to cook tomatoes to help bring their sweet flavor out. I roast them in a pan. In some really good olive oil. With garlic.
Quick side note about my olive oil, and another little tip for my fellow Sacramentans! You should try this place: The Chefs’ Olive Mix in Old Sac has olive oil and vinegar pairings. Yes. Obscene amounts of flavored olive oils and vinegars, and a nice long list of delicious pairing ideas, like these: Fig Balsamic + Mushroom & Sage EVOO. Blackberry Ginger Balsamic + Persian Lime EVOO. Coconut White Balsamic + Dark Chocolate Balsamic + Almond Oil. Look how fun! (You can also order online.)
I bought a bottle of Tuscan Herb olive oil. So. good. Goes well with anything Mediterranean.
So that’s what I’m using to pan-roast these end-of-summer tomatoes. The oil is part of the sauce, so use whatever oil you like best.
1 bottle red wine of choice (this recipe just screams for a Two Buck Chuck!)
4 oz whole wheat pasta
2 T olive oil
2 C assorted cherry or pear tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled (but keep whole)
salt & pepper
salt & pepper
1/4 C basil
Pour entire bottle of wine into a large sauce pan. Fill the pan the rest of the way up (as far as you need to cook your pasta) with water. Bring to a boil, and cook your pasta!
Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil, tomatoes (you can halve them or keep them whole), garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have burst and their skins are withered and slightly browned. Throw out the garlic.
If your tomatoes are already lacking in flavor, a splash of balsamic vinegar right before you turn the heat off is a fantastic addition.
Toss pasta, tomatoes, and fresh basil together. Simple and delicious!
Nutrition facts per serving: Calories: 348; Calories from Fat: 140; Total Fat: 15.5g; Saturated Fat: 2.0g; Sodium: 11mg; Total Carbohydrates: 45.0g; Dietary Fiber: 5.8g; Sugars: 2.0g; Protein: 7.2g
*I have no idea how cooking the pasta in wine affects the nutrition facts – these don’t include the wine in any way.