Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pasta Personality and Recipes ...

Go me, I'm spaghetti!



You’re genuine and well loved, like Carrabba’s Spaghetti and Meatballs. Your warm and comforting personality makes you everybody’s best friend. So go for our equally popular hand-prepared meatballs over perfectly cooked imported spaghetti.

I just tried the Carabba's Pasta Personality Quiz on Facebook and discovered that, indeed, I am spaghetti, what about you? In theory, that sounds about right, spaghetti is one of those quintessential comfort foods and it fits the whole mommy/wife roll quite well.

Oddly enough, however, I'm a bigger fan of cream sauce on pasta, so my favorite family pasta recipes usually start with a cream based sauce. (For those playing along at home, Shaun's favorite meal actually is spaghetti and meatballs, go figure.) I personally prefer cream sauces over tortellini or gnocchi--one of the best meals I've ever had was a creamy gnocchi at a little seaside restaurant in Ventimiglia, Italy, and that's actually what we are having tonight for dinner. Now, I'm sure there all sorts of fancy alfredo recipes, but really, I have two small kids, fancy is a relative term when they are "starving to death".

Quick & Easy Alfredo with Pasta:
1 package fresh tortellini or gnocchi, cooked and ready to eat
1/2 cup butter
1 package cream cheese, or Philly Cooking Creme (the flavored varieties are awesome)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 cups milk
3/4 cup parmesan
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Melt butter in a pan until completely softened.
Add garlic, pepper, and cream cheese, mixing well to smooth out lumps.
When completely melted, add milk slowly, continuing to stir.
Add parmesan cheese, stir again and continue to heat/stir till desired thickness.
Toss with pasta and serve!

For a change, we also really like to mix in some tomato sauce for a creamy tomato recipe. And of course, there's always the option of adding chicken or sausage to the meal. Maybe this is why we like pasta so much. It's versatile!

If you aren't up for making pasta, you could always head to your local Carrabba's. For a limited time, they are featuring Signature Pasta Meals, seven different dishes served with choice of soup or fresh salad starting at $10. The choices look wonderful, I'd love to try the Parmesan-Crusted Chicken, with the Limoncello Bread Pudding for dessert!

Don't these sound amazing?

Parmesan-crusted Chicken – Topped with fresh arugula and grape tomatoes tossed in a hand-prepared lemon vinaigrette, served with choice of side. Substitution of wood-grilled chicken also available. Pairs well with Estancia Pinot Grigio.

Limoncello Bread Pudding – Back by popular demand! Brioche bread pudding made with fresh Madagascar vanilla beans and a rich custard, served hot out of the oven. Topped with Blue Bell vanilla ice cream and drizzled with Carrabba’s homemade Caravella Limoncello liqueur sauce.

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Carrabba’s blogging program, for a gift card worth $50. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

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