There’s a little game I like to play with myself. I love to try new and interesting dishes at a restaurant and then go home and try to recreate them. Sometimes I start by trying to recreate a dish but over time it continues to evolve into something completely different.
Years ago I was with a group of friends in South Beach and we dined in a restaurant whose name I can’t remember but what I do remember was the pasta dish that I ordered. It was angel hair pasta with a pink champagne sauce. It was a tomato cream sauce made with champagne. Having more of a beer budget, I substituted wine for champagne and I came pretty close to the original. This dish and variations of it such as added spinach and mushrooms were served on a somewhat regular basis at the SMB house.
Some time later, I came across a similar dish that “kicked it up another notch”. Oddly enough, I discovered this culinary concoction in the cafeteria of the hospital where I was working. We were fortunate to have a chef who worked nights at a local 5 star restaurant and days at the hospital.
***Side note*** The chef was once caught stealing food from the hospital pantry and fired. The doctors circulated a petition and forced the hospital to rehire him because his replacement was no match for the culinary genius of our little thief.***
So………anyway………….once the new spicy dish was repeated a few times, I asked the chef what it was called. He said that loosely translated, it was “angry pasta”. It was a tomato cream sauce made with ham and crushed red pepper. I revised my old Champagne Pasta to include the ham and pepper and my family loved it. Over time, I’ve completely omitted the wine from the recipe. I love to cook with wine but in this case, it didn’t really add anything to the end result. It’s become my signature dish. My girls both know how to make it now. Yes, even D1 who hates to cook.
My dear friend, Beauty, called me this morning on my way to work asking for a vegetarian recipe. I suggested Angry Pasta with spinach and mushrooms instead of ham.
She knew exactly what I was talking about as anyone who has spent more than a few days at my house has no doubt been served Angry Pasta. As I was telling Beauty just how easy it is to make, it occurred to me that I should post the recipe. I haven’t posted a recipe for a long time and with all the shopping, decorating, cookie baking and eggnog drinking going on around the world, don’t we all need an easy recipe to feed the troops and move on to the task at hand?
I actually have two versions of this recipe. The easy one and the even easier one. It is the even easier version you will find below. If you’re interested in the easy version made with cream and canned tomatoes, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll be happy to share it too.
ANGRY PASTA (My mother, Lucy, preferred angel hair pasta and she referred to this dish as Angel Hair with an Attitude)
1 jar prepared spaghetti sauce. I prefer Barilla 5 cheese but any red sauce will do.
2 jars alfredo sauce.
1/2 to 1lb. deli ham julienned (cut into strips). Be sure not to use a sweet ham.
parmesan cheese to taste
crushed red pepper to taste
1 lb pasta of choice prepared al dente. ( I prefer penne. )
Prepare the pasta as per the package instructions.
Combine the remaining ingredients in a pan and heat. This will make more sauce than necessary for 1 lb of pasta. You can freeze the rest for the next time or make 2 lbs of pasta for a crowd. If you want to make less, just be sure to use two parts alfredo to one part tomato sauce.
Serve the sauce over the pasta. Add some garlic bread and a salad and you are good to go. You can’t get much easier than that without ordering take-out.
This dish isn’t exactly what you’d call diet friendly but it is very good and it is the season to celebrate, right?
Smart Mouth Broad