Saturday, January 5, 2013

Tomato Cream Sauce+Spaghetti Squash Bake

So, I have a confession.

It's steamy.  It's delicious.  Some might call it sinful.

It's tomato cream sauce.

I cannot get enough of it.  Seriously, you can put tomato cream sauce on an old shoe and I would still eat it.  I might follow up with a course of antibiotics, but I'd eat it.  I don't care if it's that lovely simple butter+onion+tomato sauce or something that is complicated.  I just love it all.  I have eaten tomato cream sauces in multiple restaurants, multiple states, multiple countries, multiple continents.

No really.  I have.

So it's no surprise that one day, I felt like recreating one of those many meals.  A few years ago, I had a tomato cream sauce with chicken, pepperoncini and mushrooms over pasta that filled up a plate the size of my torso.  I. ate. the. whole. thing.  Then I got bread and sopped up the leftover cream.  I sincerely considered licking the plate, but I was with friends and didn't want to embarrass them.  However, that did not apply when I remade it myself (sorry honey, in the house I feel free to be a little uncivilized).

However, I got so dang excited about my dish that I forgot to put the mushrooms and pepperoncini in the sauce before I poured it over chicken and put it in the oven.  No fear.  I mixed them into the risotto I made to go with the luxurious chicken and sauce.  It. was. awesome.  In fact, the pepperoncini really add a great acidity element.  Try it sometime!

The sauce also managed to provide about 12 servings in no small part I'm sure due to the fact that I dumped it all in to cover the chicken while the chicken cooked and I then salvaged the leftover sauce for a second recipe, which means I probably benefitted from some stretching from the chicken juices.  If you aren't gross like me, it might make fewer servings.

The first thing I made was the chicken+risotto.  Then I used a small portion of the cream sauce to elevate my humble frozen spinach.  The picture above is the final iteration of this one sauce: I roasted a spaghetti squash, seasoned it lightly, shredded it into a 9X13 pyrex dish and poured the cream sauce over it before topping with shredded mozzarella and baking at 350 for 30 minutes.  It makes a great main dish or can be served alongside an egg a la Beverly: an egg fried in coconut oil and topped with sriracha.

6 cloves garlic
2 T olive oil
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 c cream cheese
1/2 c half and half
4 T butter
4 chopped sundried tomatoes

1) Fry the garlic a little bit in the olive oil (3 or so minutes) over medium heat until you see little brown marks start to form.
2) Add butter, tomatoes, sundried tomatoes and cook for 30 or so minutes to blend flavors.
3) Stir in cream cheese until it melts and steams.  Stir in half and half
4) Blend with immersion blender.
5) Melt yourself.  Oh so good.

**Not a low fat food.  The butter can probably be omitted, but please don't tell me if you do that.  Myfitnesspal tells me that there are 118 calories, 10 g fat, 2 g protein, 6 g carb and 1 g fiber per serving of the sauce.

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