27 February 2008

Happy First Birthday Presto Pasta Nights!!!!!!!!!

Presto Pasta nights is celebrating it's one year birthday. For an entire year we have been inundated with delicious and creative pasta dishes from the line-up at Ruth's blog over at Once Upon a Feast . Each week the pasta line-up gets bigger and bigger. As I have mentioned before, Ruth was the very first blog I ever came across, even before I knew what a blog was or even considered creating one of my own. The very first tried and true pasta dish I have in my repertoire is Herb & Three Cheese Penne from the very first pages of Once Upon a Feast in 2005. To celebrate her first birthday I present a penne dish of my own that I find very comforting and light tasting fare. To jazz it up a bit add different cheeses of your choice and perhaps a few red pepper flakes. It does of course involve a smidgen of vodka...hic.... Since it is a party afterall this dish also makes a flamboyant presentation as well. It requires a flambe...Ole!!!!!!...hic...watch the eyebrows!!!! Maybe I shouldn't have consumed the remaining vodka when I halved the recipe...wink...wink...hic...

At least I didn't have to get my eyebrows waxed this year...wink...wink....

** Penne Romanoff **

Bechamel Sauce

3 T butter
3 T flour
1-1/2 cups milk
Salt and crushed pepper

500 gram rigate pasta
450 gram white mushrooms, quartered
3 T butter
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 scallions or shallots, finely chopped
1/2 cup vodka
1 cup canned diced Italian tomatoes, drained


1 cup parmegiano reggiano
2 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

Bechamel Sauce : In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and stir until a smooth paste forms. Whisk in the milk. Bring to a boil while whisking constantly, then simmer gently for a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Pasta: In a pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, oil lightly and set aside. In a large skillet over high heat, sauté the mushrooms in the butter until they release their liquid and turn golden. Season with salt and pepper. Add the scallions and garlic. Continue cooking about 2 minutes. Add the pasta and heat through. Deglaze with the vodka. Flambé. Add the béchamel and tomatoes and stir to combine. Adjust the seasoning.
Garnish:Place in a large serving bowl. Sprinkle with the Parmesan, scallions and pine nuts. Serve immediately.

Serves 6 Best Blogger Tips


  1. Nice simple dish Val...I love red pepper flakes...and an interesting story about the eyebrows!

  2. Vodka, I'll have to try the recipe. Sounds delicious.

  3. I love this dish - it's one of those "makes you feel good all over dishes". I'm in for the cooking school tours - Santorini would be fine = Tuscany is on my list too :)

  4. All these lovely pasta dishes floating around from this event, is making me crave a huge bowl of pasta tonight!

  5. Isn't it true that any alcoholic beverage makes cooking more interesting? I do believe that. And since I have some vodka I don't know what to do with, I will have to try this simple pasta and I will watch my eyebrows ;)

  6. I presume your Ricardo kick is over with? lol

    A lovely dish, cheese, 'shrooms and Bechamel...sign me up!

  7. Sounds delicious--and a bechamel is always a delightful way to dress up any "creamy" component. Glad to hear the eyebrows survived. ;-)

  8. Looks great! Simple and tasty! I'm starring it!

  9. What a great, simple pasta dish Val! This is what I need to be cooking during the week!

  10. Lovely pasta dish. I don't eat pasta very often, but I'm tempted to make this very soon.

  11. What a beautiful pasta dish!

  12. What a lovely post. Glad to see you're still playing Presto Pasta Nights. It's always a treat when you do and what a great party dish this is! Thanks for sharing.

  13. yummy! Valli that looks great

  14. Oh this sounds delsih Val!! I'm craving pasta now :D

    Rosie x

  15. Lovely, creamy, soothing...with just enough spinach on the side to feel healthy!

  16. He, he, he, I haven't drank vodka for years now!!! I don't even have a bottle. But I will contribute to the Presto Pasta Nights Birthday!!!
    Your dish looks magnífico, Val :D

  17. Looks like a spectacular dish for a special occasion. I'm sure my sweetie will love this one, too (well, vodka and all--)!


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