I love cooking for other people, possibly more than I like cooking for myself. I love to share my creations with my friends and get their feedback. Sometimes I try to brainstorm people I can cook for just so I can do more cooking.
Unfortunately, when the opportunity often arises for me to do so, I don’t know what to make. By some people’s standards, Brian and I eat “weird” food. I figure it’s probably best not to make Penne with Tempeh, Caramelized Shallots and Goat Cheese for first time guests. Last weekend our church had a Palm Sunday potluck dinner and I signed up to bring a vegetable. Then I agonized for weeks over what I’d bring that was both interesting (I often feel the need to live up to my food blogger reputation) and appealing to the general congregation. I settled on Mark Bittman’s Roasted Carrots with Scallion-Ginger Glaze, which were apparently a hit because they were gone by the end of the evening.
This week I was faced with a similar situation. I’d offered to make a meal for a friend who recently had a baby. She, like just about everyone else I’ve ever cooked for, offered very little guidance in terms of what she would like. “We eat just about anything,” she told me, just like everyone always does. I know that’s probably true, but I’m not brave enough to really test that claim. So I flipped through my recipe binder and settled on a recipe my mother gave me. The closest online match I could find was this recipe from the 1989 Orlando Sentinel, which may very well be its original source, though I know my mom got it from a friend at church. This pasta dish (because everyone likes pasta!) is simple: you make a rosemary and tomato sauce, pour it over pasta and add a bit of balsamic vinegar. It smells amazing and tastes delicious. I can’t imagine anyone with a normal palate not liking it.
Penne with Rosemary Tomato Sauce and Balsamic Vinegar
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves crushed
- 2 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
- 28 oz canned Italian peeled plum tomatoes
- 13.25 oz whole wheat penne or ziti one box
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1. Boil a pot of water for the pasta.
- 2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the crushed garlic.
- 3. After a minute, add the tomatoes and rosemary. Simmer for 10 minutes, breaking up the tomatoes as they cook. Turn off the heat.
- 4. When the water boils, add the pasta and cook according to package directions.
- 5. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add the tomato sauce to the pasta. Toss to combine.
- 6. Add the balsamic vinegar. Toss.
- 7. Enjoy!
i LOVE LOVE LOVE the idea of adding balsamic to a pasta dish. I made How Sweet Eats balsamic reduction sauce for gnocchi once – and it was AMAZING – but i love the idea of the balsamic WITH the tomato sauce. LOVELY!
Also – i totally hear you on not knowing what to cook for people – I always struggle with vegetarian potluck dishes that AREN’T pasta. (usually 100 people sign up to bring pasta, you know?) I need to start a list of go to recipes for this purpose!
Luckily I figured I could get away with pasta here, but I signed up for a vegetable for the church potluck for just that reason and then had a really hard time coming up with something. It would’ve been much easier if it was summer and something was actually in season.
Duane Brunell says
Fun to see those recipes being handed down. This is a great dish for company!