Once again, I chose a recipe based solely on the photos, something I can only hope you are not doing on this particular website. I have decided that I have really good visual taste.
I don’t know Ingrid Beer, who writes at The Cozy Apron, but I sure would like to meet her, if only to tell her how wonderful her recipes and photos are. Seriously. This is the second meal that we have made from The Cozy Apron (the first was that White Bean Stew that took me forever to get to but was delicious), and I am impressed. Ingrid’s recipes (so far, I know, two is not a pattern) are simple and delicious, just up my alley. I love the vast selections of recipes on Ingrid’s site. And people, she is creating these recipes. Are you kidding? My job is to find you a good recipe, translate it to regular non-chef English when necessary, and hope you don’t hate my photographs of the finished product. This woman is CREATING the stuff. And she shoots beautiful photos (editorial correction: Ingrid's husband takes these shots). That is impressive. I think you’ll be seeing more of her recipes come out of my kitchen in the future.
Enough about my new best friend. Let’s move on to the noodles. I had two main problems with this recipe, both of which resulted from living in the middle of nowhere. The first was that I could not find pappardelle and did not have time to make fresh (which would have been amazing). The second was that there was no decent fresh basil to speak of in this valley. Don’t worry, I persevered. Substitute some fettuccine for your pappardelle and just work with the old jar version of basil if you must. An aside: if you are unfamiliar with pappardelle, I am very sorry. They are delicious wide, long noodles. They are great with chunky sauces because the chunks catch in just the right way, making the perfect bite. Seriously. And if you haven’t had the rice version of pappardelle found in the original Thai drunken noodle dish on which this recipe is based, get yourself to your nearest Thai restaurant (even if by plane) and try it. So good.
Everything else in the recipe was easy. I was a bit distracted and almost missed the order of things when I began. I am used to cooking my onions first, then adding garlic, then peppers, but this recipe uses slightly different ordering techniques to great results. The white wine is a great addition to the flavor of the vegetables and the tomatoes. I used Pomi chopped tomatoes instead of canned, and stretched my sauce with a bit of Pomi tomato purée also. We were serving more than four last night, so I added a bit more pepper and a bit more sausage to round things out. One box of fettuccine was more than enough. The boys each had seconds and took some for lunch today. This is a winner for teen boys. It is also a winner for preschoolers as evidently, one couldn’t wait to hit the bowl.
My vegetarian and gluten-free daughter followed along while I made Ingrid’s version and made a vegetarian version of this dish. She was thrilled with the seasoning and flavor this added to standard tofurky over her gluten-free pasta. She also made enough to take for lunch today and was more than happy to have it again. It isn’t exactly pretty, but she said the flavors were great.
The vote was unanimous last night that this recipe is a keeper. Next time, I will schedule it at a time when I can actually make fresh pasta and when I can find basil. It might be time to start an herb garden on my window sill. Thanks for the inspiration, Ingrid!
(P.S. I forgot to mention the vegetables we had last night. In a stroke of luck, the grocery store had purple cauliflower. We all know by now that I love cauliflower, so I roasted up a head of that with some carrots in a little olive oil, salt, and pepper for a very colorful side.)