Today I decided that it was about time I cooked up the gift that my boss gave me for Christmas – a food hamper containing all the ingredients for a pasta dinner for two.
I used the Simon Johnson penne, pasta sauce with chilli, and extra virgin olive oil. I topped it with the Blue Cow parmesan that was also included in the hamper. The only ingredients that I added were about 2 tablespoons of pouring cream (that’s all we had left in the carton!) and 2 generous tablespoons of sour cream. I also tossed about 1 to 2 cups of cooked prawns in to the sauce about 2 minutes before serving, just to heat. The result was one of the best pasta dishes I have eaten. Absolutely delicious and, unlike most pasta sauces I have used, not overly sweet. The flavour was very well balanced and I was happy that I didn’t have to season the sauce at all – the flavours were great out of the jar. Others might prefer to omit the creams, but I personally love creamy tomato sauces with seafood and it worked extremely well. We were both really surprised to find that the the chilli heat didn’t linger that long after eating this dish – despite being quite peppery while eating it. The Simon Johnson products aren’t something I would buy all the time – they’re far outside of my price range – but for an occasional treat they are definitely some of the best we have tried. The Blue Cow cheese, however, is something I think I’ll buy as a treat more frequently.. it’s really really good and you use less than the cheaper stuff. Bon Appétit!
The method went like this…
- Put pasta in a pot. Cover with hot water. Add a dash of salt. Stir. Bring to the boil.
- Meanwhile, put another, smaller pot on the stove. Add the jar of pasta sauce and stir. Bring up to a rapid simmer.
- When sauce has reached simmering point, turn the heat down to low-medium and add the cream and sour cream. Stir briskly to encorporate quickly. Surprisingly, mine didn’t curdle in this pasta sauce, despite me thinking that the sauce as it was was quite acidic (hence my decision to take a bit of the edge off by adding something creamy). When well encorporated, turn heat down to low.
- When pasta is al dente (box says around 8 mins cooking time) drain pasta and return to pot (off the heat). Splash a bit of olive oil over the pasta and mix in gently.
- Add the prawns to the sauce and heat for about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Transfer contents of sauce pot to the pasta. Mix in gently but well.
- Serve garnished with a tablespoon or two of parmesan and a sprig of something green – I used some garlic chives and a sprig of parsley.