Saturday, March 31, 2012

Balsamic and White Wine Pasta Sauce

Last summer my husband and I went out to eat at a local restaurant that has amazing food.  They always have a seasonal menu to go along with the regular one and they had a pasta dish with a bunch of veggies and chicken in it and a balsamic and white wine sauce.  It is amazing.  I seriously thought about it for weeks after we went there.  I tried to find something similar online and either I suck at searching (entirely possible) or there's nothing on the internet like that recipe (less likely). 

I tried to experiment.  I knew it had garlic and white wine and balsamic vinegar.  I substituted water for the wine (because I'm cheap and I'm not a big fan of white wine), but I could not figure it out to save my life.  I had two massive fails under my belt and just couldn't seem to find anything to help me.  Then we went back to the restaurant.  I asked for that meal even though it wasn't on the menu (which I've done before) and she said they couldn't do it.  So I asked for something similar (no balsamic vinegar).  It was good, but not quite the same.  I took my leftovers home and added some vinegar to it the next day.  Amazingly, it tasted almost exactly like it.  I figured out that the trick was adding the vinegar at the end and I was determined to make it work. 

So I spent Friday night looking at recipes for a white wine sauce and figured out the basics (like simmering the sauce to burn off the alcohol).  Saturday night I made it and it's actually a fairly close approximation.  It's close enough to keep me happy throughout the year. 

I didn't measure anything, so these are just estimates, but feel free to try it and make your own changes.

1 cup white wine
2-3 cups water
2 Tbsp of garlic
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
whatever veggies you like

First, throw some EVOO and the garlic into a pan and saute it a bit.  Once it starts to smell really good add the white wine and water.  Add a touch of salt.  Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.  Start boiling your pasta.  I used angel hair pasta.  Taste the sauce.  If you can still taste the alcohol, keep simmering it (I had to check mine twice-garlic wine is not a good flavor). 
At the very end when the white wine sauce is done, add the balsamic vinegar.  Add more if you like.  The sauce should be a light brown.  Throw in your veggies and pasta.  I used artichoke hearts and cherry tomatoes.  The restaurant also adds mushrooms and chicken.  Saute it all together for a few minutes and serve. 

Other than waiting for the sauce to simmer this recipe is really quick and simple.  Adding some chicken might add some time, but if you already have some cooked then it wouldn't take long at all. 

This is an delicious summertime dish when the veggies are fresh, but it's good all year round.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

I finished Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy yesterday before I left for work.  I'm not sure if it's because I was expecting so much more from such a well-known book or if I'm just one of those few people who don't fully appreciate it but I found it a little lackluster.  Some parts of it were certainly funny, but it seemed like so much of it was unnecessary filler and the ending is so blah.  Adams has a pretty funny sense of humor (he had Monty Python connections and it shows), but I just didn't feel connected to the characters at all.  I feel like I might still be comparing everything I read to the Tenebrea trilogy by Roxann Dawson because I read it recently and absolutely loved it.  I tend to do that with really great books.  Hopefully I'll find something to really pique my interest soon. 

Resistance is Futile

I tried to resist; I really did.  Everyone kept posting about Pinterest and I thought I didn't need another social networking thing.  I even checked it out and spent some time looking at stuff before I signed up and I didn't really get the whole point of it.  So I waited and occasionally went back and checked it out.  I watched my friends posting on Facebook that they had pinned something new.  Then I found a few interesting recipes and some funny pictures and I decided to join.  Now, this is exactly how I feel:

I even found this on Pinterest.  I borrowed this from here

So suffice it to say I have a new time suck and I plan on spending even more time there.  If you haven't checked it out I highly recommend it.  Unless, you know, you have things to do in which case I don't recommend it because those things will never get done.  Don't say I didn't warn you.