Friday, August 10, 2012

Meal of the Day: Pastella

This dish I'm about to share with you has been created in the past, yet has never been given a proper name.  This dish encompasses different tastes and textures.  No matter how much of this dish you eat in one sitting or maybe two if daring, this leaves you full and definitely satisfied.  I guess you can say this dish is a mash up of 2 completely different dishes: pasta and paella.  Well, I don't think they're completely different because the only difference is the choice of carbs.  When I first made this dish, I had all the ingredients to make paella but had no yellow rice.  So instead I opted for whatever was in my pantry which was penne.  This dish turned out great the first time around.  For the second time around, I still had no yellow rice so I settled for penne again.

Now this time around, I just finished the yellow rice recently and purchased penne rigate during my latest trip to the supermarket.  The dish still came out great (the key is timing so everything doesn't overcook) and I have yet to name this dish.  My husband and I were throwing out ideas during dinner and came up with a few clever ones.  It's simple to just mash the ingredients together and come up with a nonsense word.  Or, call upon the Rachael Ray goddess and pick the first letter of each word to come up with a name (ie: extra virgin olive oil is now EVOO thanks to the goddess chef herself).  After much deliberation, we decided to keep it simple and mash up the common ingredient of pasta and paella.

So, I share with you pastella!  The ingredients in this dish can also be used to make paella, just swap out the penne for yellow rice.

1 box penne rigate, or any thin penne
1 recipe for white sauce (see below)
3 links chorizo, cut 1-inch thick
1/4 cup shrimps (deveined, skin off, tail off, and make a slit on the thick end half way to form a butterfly shape)
5 stalks celery, cut in half then diced
1 cup mushrooms, cut into bite sizes
1 onion (only used half then diced)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 TBSP butter
olive oil
red pepper flakes
black pepper

STEP 1: Prepare pasta as directed.  When draining the pasta, reserve the water for you will need it later on (trust me).

STEP 2: While pasta is cooking, lightly drizzle olive oil on a pan over medium heat.  Cook the chorizo pieces for 6-7 minutes, or until cooked.  Do not burn the meat, but cook until there's a little charring.  Once cooked, pour all contents (including oil that it was just cooked in) into a bowl and set aside for later.

STEP 3: In the same pan over medium heat, melt 1 TBSP of butter then add the garlic.  Before garlic turns brown, add the shrimp and cook until it starts to curl like a butterfly.  Once cooked, pour all contents (including oil that it was just cooked in) into a bowl and set aside for later.

STEP 4: Cook the white sauce in the same pan.  Follow directions below.  Once sauce has mixed together, add onions, celery and mushrooms.  Mix well in sauce. 

STEP 5: Add cooked pasta.  If the sauce dries up, add a cup of pasta water (reserved water when draining the pasta).  Add remaining chorizo and shrimp.  Optional: For proportion purposes, cut the cooked chorizo further into smaller pieces.  You don't want the chorizo and shrimp to overpower the flavor since they're bigger pieces.

STEP 6: Add pepper flakes and black pepper.  Mix all together.

4 TBSP butter
6 TBSP flour
2-3 cups milk (depending on consistency of sauce)

STEP 1: Melt the butter over medium heat in a pan.  Don't over burn where it becomes to turn brown.

STEP 2: Add the flour 1 tablespoon at a time.  After adding 3 tablespoons, whisk the butter and flour then add the rest.  Mix everything and allow to bubble while consistently stirring.

STEP 3: Add the milk slowly.  Keep stirring so that the milk blends with the butter and flour mixture.  If the sauce is too thick, add more milk.  If the sauce is too thin, add more flour.  Just eyeball it.

Serve warm and enjoy!

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