Well, sort of. I'm still largely a culinary nincompoop, but now at least, I can proudly claim that I am able to cook pasta...specifically my mom's delicious "pomodoro penne" with tomatoes, basil and oregano.
Spurred on by a dare from Mav, I made it a point to cook my first dish in time for Christmas. Fortunately, my colleagues at work came up with the idea of a "Christmas lunch" celebration, held just before everyone parted ways for the holidays. Given that this is an absolute first time for me cooking for anyone else, I was particularly nervous.
It had turned out better than I ever hoped. When I served my large bowl of pasta, by the time the luncheon had wound down it was virtually empty except for a negligible amount of penne. The culinary experts at work, Karen, Dionie and Jen, all proclaimed it delicious. Dionie told me afterwards that I should try making pasta with white sauce next. We'll see about that.
Not forgetting the original dare, I set aside a small portion for Mav to sample...and she found it up to snuff, too.
Anyhow, here's the recipe if anyone fancies a go...it's really a simple one to be honest.
TERE'S POMODORO PENNE WITH TOMATOES, BASIL AND OREGANO
One head garlic, crushed
One onion, diced
One large can Molinera sun-dried tomatoes with tomato juice
500g bag of penne/rigatoni pasta
One small bowlful of pasta broth
One handful of fresh basil leaves
One handful of fresh or dried oregano leaves
Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
Knorr all-purpose seasoning
Cheese for topping (Parmesan, Edam or Romano)
Boil some water and cook the penne or rigatoni for 8 minutes or until al dente. Drain the pasta, but set aside some of the broth for later.
Saute the onions in olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the crushed garlic when the onions have caramelized. Saute for 3 more minutes, then open the can and add the tomatoes. Once the tomatoes are in, reduce the heat to low while stirring. Take the basil and oregano leaves and slice them into strips, then add them into the pan. Cook thoroughly.
Season the sauce accordingly. To cut the sour tang of the tomatoes, add some Worcestershire sauce, Knorr seasoning and sugar. Add salt sparingly. If desired, use a pepper mill on the pan. After seasoning, add in the pasta, making sure the sauce coats it evenly. Cook for about 5 minutes. At the end, add in one small bowl of the pasta broth to avoid the pasta sticking to each other. Serve. Top with grated Parmesan, Romano or Edam cheese.
This dish will serve 8-10 people.