Tuesday dinner: Tuscan pasta with sundried tomato basil cream sauce (or the danger of Pinterest)

What’s the phrase…”the devil is in the details?”

Sometimes you run across a recipe that looks good on the surface, but when you read the ingredients or look at the cooking method, you lose interest. A slow cooked rib or beef recipe that actually involves a crockpot (gak). A “zesty” dish that requires a McCormick’s seasoning pouch (don’t get me wrong…they’re great for some things, but not others). A recipe for chicken marsala that calls for jarred marsala mushroom sauce (for real?).

This was another case. I picked it up off someone’s Pinterest board because it looked really good. Upon further review, the primary flavoring was jarred sundried tomato alfredo sauce. Jarred sauce is one thing. There are good ones. Jarred alfredo? I can’t even…ehck…I JUST FWEWUPNMYMOUF. Newsflash kids…alfredo is all dairy. You can’t buy this off the shelf and expect it to taste good. It’s like eating powdered eggs. Sure, it taste like an egg. I’m sure cat food tastes like tuna fish too, but I’m not going to try it. I get the shakes thinking about how bad this tastes (the alfredo, not the cat food, though I’m sure that tastes like shit too).

That said, I like a challenge. Deconstructing this dish is not hard. I could make my own alfredo, but I can get fresh (i.e. REFRIGERATED) alfredo in the dairy department. I can also get sundried tomatoes and drain them really well to make it less greasy. Sure, it adds a few extra minutes, but I don’t feel like I’m rolling the dice with botulism or compromising my principles. (Seriously, jarred alfredo? I can’t let go of this…)

The below recipe was basically improvised with the only issue being how fine I chopped the basil. (Side note: I’m not entirely sure what makes this Tuscan. Tuscan food is supposed to be beans, rice, game, Romano cheese and legumes. I blame this recipe on another bastardization of the region: Under The Tuscan Sun. Sandra Oh ruins everything.) Typically I would use fresh plum tomatoes, but the selection at Wegmans was dreadful. Winter is a tough time for fresh tomatoes anyways, but this year’s pick has been horribly inconsistent.  I never seem to cut this fresh herbs small enough, and this was no exception. Otherwise, no complaints from The Wife.

Tuscan pasta with sundried tomato basil cream sauce
By Jared Paventi

  • 20 oz. fresh ravioli from your grocery’s refrigerated section
  • 12-16 oz. tub of fresh alfredo sauce from your grocery’s refrigerated section
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, drained well and pureed
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tbsp dry white wine
  • 16 oz. can of petite cut diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, rinsed and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated

Heat garlic in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. When the garlic becomes fragrant, add the white wine and saute 2-3 minutes, or until the wine reduces by half and the garlic is soft.

Add the alfredo to the saucepan and stir to mix. Add the sundried tomatoes and use a flat whisk or wooden spoon to blend well. You should have a pinkish sauce. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the sauce is hot all of the way through, approximately 10 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes and basil, and combine.

Bring a pan of water to boil over high heat. Salt the water slightly and cook ravioli per the package’s instructions (probably 4-6 minutes).

Drain the pasta and set aside. Stir the grated cheese into the sauce, then toss with the pasta.


3 thoughts on “Tuesday dinner: Tuscan pasta with sundried tomato basil cream sauce (or the danger of Pinterest)”

  1. This is very helpful. I picked up two tubs of wegman’s light alfredo when we were visiting the inlaws last weekend. One is already gone, but this recipe gives me inspiration to jazz it up a little next time. I do enjoy your blog. Thanks!

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