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Food Porn! Provençal Penne.

Ready for another recipe? Here is what I made for dinner tonight. It's one of my favorite pasta dishes. Both Mom and Dad Pony liked it when I made it for them, and Mom Pony took the recipe home and occasionally makes it herself. It's from a cookbook called Patricia Wells At Home In Provence: Recipes Inspired By Her Farmhouse In France. The recipes in that book are Mediterranean-style French cooking, as opposed to the cream-heavy northern French style that Julia Child made famous.

The Ingredients: This photo shows: 1 orange, crushed red pepper flakes, olive oil, a 28-oz. can of crushed tomatoes, a 1-lb. box of penne, some bay leaves, some salt, 1 onion, 1 bulb of fennel, 2 cloves of garlic, and some parsley.

Peel and chop the onion and the garlic cloves. Cut off the fronds of the fennel and chop the bulb. Grate up the orange zest. (Tomorrow, I'm going to juice the orange and drink it with breakfast.)

Put some olive oil and a pinch of salt into a big saucepan (this is my trusty Dutch oven) along with the onion, the garlic, two bay leaves, and 1/2 teaspoon of the crushed red pepper flakes.

Turn on the heat, give this all a stir, and get it cooking. Meanwhile, put the penne in a pot of water and start that cooking.

After a couple of minutes, the stuff in the saucepan will have sauteed nicely. The onion will go all soft, and the garlic will turn golden.

At this point, add the fennel, toss it around to mix it with the rest of the stuff in the saucepan, cover the pot, turn the heat down a little, and cook for five or ten minutes.

Add the can of crushed tomatoes and the orange zest.

Mix everything up and set the pot to simmer.

The sauce should simmer for fifteen to twenty minutes. By a cooking miracle, this is about how long it will take the penne to cook through, assuming you started from cold water at the same time as you started the sauce. At any rate, the timing of the sauce is flexible. Just don't let it burn. While all this is cooking, take a handful of parsley:

And chop it. I love freshly chopped parsley, but I absolutely hate chopping it. This is why I love my herb vroomer, which was a birthday present from my best friend. The herb vroomer is a little mini food processor that attaches onto a motor handle. You plug it in, put in the parsley:

And press the button. VROOOOOOOOM. Voila! Chopped parsley.

Meanwhile, the penne has cooked! Drain it.

Mix it into the sauce.

Sprinkle a little parsley on top, and serve it up with a glass of red wine. Come an' get it!

I love this recipe. It's just so goshdarned useful. It's not all that expensive, but it is kind of unusual. It's healthy and delicious. The sauce is vegan, so you can serve it to just about any guest, but it's not the kind of meal that requires meat, so your meat-eating guests won't feel deprived. You can serve it on its own, as I did tonight, or you can make a nice company dinner out of it by adding a green salad and some bread. When I was told that a Cordon Bleu-trained chef would be showing up at my house for dinner, this was what I made for him, and he deemed it Tasty Indeed.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 20th, 2010 09:40 am (UTC)
LOLOL! Loved the step-by-step slide show! :-)

Looks yummy. In my case, I prefer my tomato sauce home made, and my penne do cook at exactly 11 minutes but for the rest, that's a quite traditional recipe as you said, quick and easy and just wonderful!

Also I was reminded of you the other day, because my mother cooked some beans with cod and it was paradise!
Jan. 20th, 2010 01:20 pm (UTC)
I think that penne generally cook at exactly 11 minutes from boiling water. The timing I gave was from starting them off in a pot of cold water that must first boil and only then start cooking the penne.

I always think that homemade tomato sauce sounds nice, but, you know, for something like this, for that big a can of crushed tomatoes, I say that this is why God invented canneries.

It really is an easy, delicious recipe, and the leftovers are nice either cold or warmed up.
Jan. 20th, 2010 01:05 pm (UTC)
Oooh, another recipe worth trying! That looks wonderful.
Jan. 20th, 2010 01:22 pm (UTC)
It's a particular favorite of mine. I made it a day or so before I had to go to the hospital, so when Mom Pony came to stay with me, I gave her my apartment keys, and she'd go to my place and eat Provençal Penne for lunch. (Someone had to eat it, and I was NPO for several days.) I think that was when she first had it, and she liked it enough to take the recipe home.
Jan. 20th, 2010 04:55 pm (UTC)
sounds really tasty!

i never start pasta out in cold water--i always boil the water and add the pasta. so i'll take note that someone above thinks you boil the penne 11 minutes. and i don't have a parsley chopper so i cut it with a scissors since i, too, hate chopping parsley.
Jan. 20th, 2010 06:29 pm (UTC)
I tend to start the penne for this dish off in cold water because I don't have a pot that's quite the right size for a pound of penne. If I put in the penne and the water at the same time, then I know I have enough water to cook the penne but not so much that the pot will overflow.
Jan. 20th, 2010 07:12 pm (UTC)
I love these posts!

That looks really delicious. I don't normally eat pasta but I might try this. How many portions did that make?
Jan. 20th, 2010 07:18 pm (UTC)
This makes a LOT of pasta. A single person could easily eat for the better portion of a week off of this (which is what I intend to do). Maybe invite the Jennys over for dinner?

I think there will definitely be more food porn posts. canyon_lady seemed excited at the prospect of an Indian rice pudding food porn, and I might do Hungarian mushrooms and Persian chicken later on.
Jan. 20th, 2010 07:31 pm (UTC)
Ooh, yes. A dinner party.

I'll second the vote for more food porn posts!
Jan. 20th, 2010 07:36 pm (UTC)
Well, you have that nice new house. You should have a dinner party in it!
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )


by Illsaysheis

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