Everyday Mom's Meals: Don't Make Me Blush

Monday, October 7, 2013

Don't Make Me Blush

Have you ever seen a word on a restaurant menu describing a dish, wondered what they meant, but were willing to try it, only to find out upon eating it "That is the most perfect way to describe this dish!" That was exactly the experience I had the first time I encountered the word "blush" on an Italian menu.

Years ago we were having dinner with friends when I was actually pregnant with Alex. Now, you have to understand the first 3 months of my pregnancy were not the most pleasant in the world. I was very ill. Morning sickness doesn't even begin to describe it. I was sick all day, every day. I lost 30 lbs and was almost hospitalized. However, when our friends invited us out for a meal at Olive Garden, I didn't want to miss out. So, I'm sitting in the booth, excited to be finally feel somewhat human, and trying to find something that I thought wouldn't bother my sensitive stomach. 

So, I'm reading along and I come across ravioli in a "blush" sauce. I had never seen that word used in food, and I was intrigued. I went on to read the actual description of the dish and discovered it was quite simple. They combined a red sauce and a cream sauce and got a pink sauce. But let's face it, "ravioli in pink sauce" does not sound appetizing. Now you have to remember, I'm not a huge red sauce fan, but love a good cream sauce. So I figured this might be the best of both worlds; and I was oh so right! I loved the flavor from combining the two, and the word "blush" was the perfect way to describe it. It looked as if a delicious cream sauce got a little embarrassed and was blushing. 

I hadn't thought about that experience in years, but during a conversation about pregnancy woes a few weeks back, it popped into my head; and I just had to recreate a version of it in my kitchen. Ya'll know how much we love a good pasta bake, and can't get enough versions. This one is great for a weeknight meal because it takes a lot of help from the store using not one, but two jarred sauces. 

Through blogging, I've learned the way you describe food is almost as important as the food itself, and that was a lesson that actually began long before EMM!

Blush Pasta Bake
1 lb. penne pasta, cooked and drained
1 (24 oz.) jar spaghetti sauce
1 (15 oz.) jar roasted garlic Alfredo sauce
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
1 TBS Italian Seasoning
2 tsp. dried parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Once pasta is cooked and drained, transfer to a large bowl. Add spaghetti sauce and Alfredo. (See Note below.) Stir well. Season with salt and pepper. Add mozzarella cheese. Mix well. In a small bowl, combine Parmesan, Italian Seasoning and parsley. Mix well. Add half the Parmesan mixture to pasta and stir to combine. Transfer pasta to greased 9x13 pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes until heated through. Top with remaining Parmesan mixture. Bake another 5 minutes. *NOTE* Add both sauces, alternating between the two, a little at a time until the desired consistency is achieved. You don't want it too wet. I probably had about 1/4 c. of each left in the bottom of both jars. 

Shared on The Country Cook Oct. 11, 2013

Pasta at Very Good Recipes

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