Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Easy Italian

Where I grew up in NY there are a plethora of amazing Italian restaurants and I come from a family of very talented Italian cooks. Needless to say, I have a high standard for Italian cuisine. When we moved to DC (and NC, for that matter) I was greatly underwhelmed by the quality of Italian restaurants. When we first tried the Italian food various places had to offer, we ALWAYS left unhappy and longing for the food from home (both home cooked and from our favorite restaurants). Now we know better and rarely eat at Italian I have to get my fix via my own kitchen. (Or by ordering from this yummy place and having them ship it to us....but that is only for special occasions!)

Given my snobbishness, I should be ashamed of what I just whipped up in my kitchen. However, the meal was delicious, easy, and way cheaper than anything we could have gotten at a subpar restaurant in town. I had all the ingredients on hand and it required no planning whatsoever.

Here's how you can do it too:
  • Boil water and cook your favorite pasta. My pasta of choice tonight was penne.
  • Butter two pieces of Italian bread and sprinkle with garlic powder or garlic salt. Bake on a cookie sheet for 8-10 minutes in a 350 degree oven
  • Put together a mixed greens with garbanzo beans and croutons (I usually add roasted red peppers to salads, but didn't have any on hand today)
  • Heat Bertolli Premium Pasta Sauce (we used Vodka Rustica, but also love the Champignon & Portobello sauce with angel hair) in the microwave for 90 seconds
  • Transfer cookie sheet to the broiler and let bread cook for 1-2 minutes to help make the bread crispy
  • Pour the sauce on the pasta, grate Parmesan cheese over the sauce, serve with the bread and salad, and enjoy!
No, Bertolli isn't offering me money, or products, or anything for this post. I just really love their microwaveable sauces. I know I am probably breaking some unspoken, Italian cardinal rule by liking a sauce that comes in a pouch and is cooked in the microwave, but I don't care. They are easy, convenient, and taste great. With the staples that I always have on hand, the sauce helped me pull together a last minute, delicious meal. I will definitely continue to buy them, especially until I can make my own killer sauce and/or we move back to a town with good Italian food.


  1. haha - those sauces are good. the arribiata is one of my favorites! that being said - i'm not much of a cook but homemade sauce is one of the best things ever. big can of tomatoes, some spices (i like adding a little vodka and red pepper flakes along with basil, etc.), and let that bad boy simmer. :)

  2. I like to just open a can of tomato sauce, add some tomato seasoning, and warm it up in the microwave to throw over pasta. Or just some olive oil and lemon.

  3. I've seen those and have wondered how they are. Good to know for a quick meal! Are there any good Italian places in DC you'd recommend??

  4. i know! it seems like NJ, NY, CT & MA are covered with great italian food and you never realize it until you move! i had the same problem when we moved here too... i still have yet to find "good" italian. although i will say i'm a big fan of the Maggiano's chain, yumm!

  5. That sounds so good!! I love those quickie recipes!

  6. Yum! I can ONLY make Italian. Any Italian places you like in DC? I'm dying to go to Pasta Mia sometime soon.

  7. Yum. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a microwavable sauce now and then :)

    For a fresh and very flavorful sauce, I cook cherry tomatoes in olive oil until they are soft. Then I crush them and add chili paste and spices (garlic, pepper, etc.), simmer for awhile and voila! Delicious fresh pasta sauce. It's super yummy with fresh mozz and basil over pasta.

  8. Italian is my go-to cuisine when I need a break from high-maintenance recipes and also need comfort. There's an Italian restaurant near my hometown that my family has been going to for over 37 years and they still have the best baked ziti I've ever had.

  9. This looks delish! Good for you for whipping up some awesome Italian something yourself :) Those DC restaurants will have nothing on you!