We have a small business where we basically live. We even have a back room with bunk beds and futons because it's often not worth the trouble to drive home to sleep to just turn around and come back. Since there isn't a decent restaurant in our neck of the woods, I cook for all of us including the employees. Thank you for the crockpot thread. Easier is so much better for me. As a thank you, I thought I'd post a recipe that my employees love. Some of the measurements will be guesses as I'm not much into measuring.
Since we don't have a stove at the shop, I have a Max Burton 6200 Deluxe 1800-Watt Induction Cooktop that I HIGHLY recommend. http://www.amazon.com/Max-Burton-1800-Watt-Induction-Cooktop/product-reviews/B003YDGRQG/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?showViewpoints=1
This thing cooks better than any stove I've ever owned. If you like chocolate or desire to make fondant; this is the baby to get. I only have the one along with a mini conduction oven in the office. Cooking can get creative trying to do as much as possible on a single "burner".
I also use VOLLRATH Tribute pans that can be purchased online from restaurant supplies on this cooktop. They have 18-8 Stainless steel interiors and 18-0 exteriors. The interiors are smooth as silk preventing sticking of many foods and the exteriors with the 18-0 completely flat bottom is perfect for induction cooking (magnet must stick.) I cannot say enough about these pans. I've had just about every line of pans known to man and these are by far my favorites. IMO, they beat All-Clad hands down and are cheaper. They are pricier than cheaper cookware, but well worth it. I collected them one at a time to keep the husband from noticing and bitching.
Here is a link to one I purchased: http://www.webstaurantstore.com/vollrath-77742-tribute-4-5-qt-sauce-pan/92277742.html
Fondants and chocolates render beautifully in these pans with the induction cooktop.
Finally, I use a stainless steel pressure cooker. I'm not sure if these can be bought anymore thanks to the Boston Terrorists. I have 6 pressure cookers and feared for a while that DHS might come busting in on me as I've bought them all online. My favorite is a 5.5 quart B/R/K from Germany that I got at a ridiculously cheap price off eBay. It's stainless steel instead of aluminum preventing metals from leeching into food. The only thing I dislike about it is the three inch in diameter raised inset in the center of the bottom that prevents 100% contact with the induction cooker. It works well, but would come to pressure quicker if the bottom was completely flat.
SHRIMP PENNE A LA WINE
I make enough marinara to freeze for later use. This recipe could be done with any marinara, even jarred stuff from the grocery, but be sure to doctor the sauce. It needs a lot of wineâ€¦ more than you would expect due to turning the red sauce into a pink sauce at the end. It also requires a lot of spices. I prefer African Blue basil and grow it both at home and at the office year-round due to its pungency and it not dying after a bloom as many basils do, but any fresh basil will doâ€¦ just add extra if you use a mild basil. Fresh garlic, oregano, thyme, and rosemary are also thrown in there. Spice it up with whatever spices you like because the cream will weaken it if you like zesty food.
I use the term "glug" as a unit of measurement. I'm not sure this word exists, but that's what I call it. LOL A glug is the sound liquid makes coming out of a bottle or carton. As air impedes the flow, the liquid builds up creating pressure then glugs out. When you pour milk into a pot, it makes a glug-glug-glug sound. I'm a glug counter. What can I say?
My red sauce. My recipe is not necessary. Everybody loves their own marinara; so use yours if you prefer:
If you do not have access to fresh tomatoes use 4 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes
(organic is better but not necessary or 2 of those giant cans that I'm unsure of the oz on the label. I get whatever size tomatoes are cheapest and add tomatoes until they fill 2/3 of my pressure cooker or stock pot.)1 750 ml bottle of red dry wine
(I prefer a cabernet sauvignon.)1 large or 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped1 package sun-dried tomatoes
(If sun-dried tomatoes are unavailable, substitute a can of diced tomatoes for crushed above.)half a head of garlic or the whole head of small, finely chopped
(Pick the most purple head in the bin.)a few glugs of olive oil
(About three inches in diameter in the bottom of the pan.)A bunch of sprigs of basil
(We like basil. Put however much you think you'd like, but remember this sauce is going to be diluted with cream later. I put BRANCHES of basil containing sprigs to the point the sauce is hard to stir because of all the herbs. Don't worry, they cook down and shrink.)several large sprigs of oreganoa bunch of thyme about half the size of a dime in diameter when stems are squeezed together and grasped between index finger and thumb2 sprigs rosemarylemon pepper
(8 good shakes. Or plain pepper with a single squeeze of a half a fresh lemon.)4 bay leaves
(This depends upon who I am feeding. If just my family, I throw in the bay leaves. They know to watch for them in the event I can't find them all when I pick out the herb stems at the end. For work or children present, I leave them out to be safe.)2 T sugar
(Guessing here. I grab some sugar with my hand and throw it in. I call this a light handful at home meaning not a bulging, handful.)
I use the pressure cooker when at work because it is faster. The pressure cooker also works better for fresh tomatoes if used (Be sure to blanch and peel first.) In the rare event I have a day off and cook at home, I slow cook in a stock pot adding water. As we all know, the longer it cooks, the better it is.
Saute the onion in the olive oil for a few minutes. Add the chopped garlic and sautÃ© a few more minutes. Add 2 cups of the wine and reduce by half. Add the tomatoes. Stir. Add the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the portabellas. Stir. Simmer until the leaves fall off the stems of the herbs. Let the sauce cool some, then pick out the stems.
If you grow your own herbs, leaving the sprigs on the branches facilitates easier picking. Some people tie up the herbs or use gauze to wrap the herbs. While easier, I prefer my herbs loose in the pot so all the leaves come off giving the sauce color and more flavor. I've tried stripping the leaves prior to putting in the pot, but the stem flavor is lost; so I bite the bullet and pick out the stems. It only takes a few minutes. The looks and comments from unsuspecting people that see the "weeds" in "spaghetti sauce" while cooking can be quite funny and worth it in itself.
PINK SAUCE1 pint heavy cream
(or fat free yogurt and a little sugar to taste if you can't have or don't want the heavy whipping cream. The heavy whipping cream is MUCHO better.)1 lb GULF shrimp, peeled and deveined
(Not the Asian junk. If you have access to Guaymas shrimp and the price is reasonable, grab that instead of the gulf.)2 Italian sausage links, sliced into disks1/4 cup Hennessy or other Cognac (optional)2 large Portabellas sliced
(Only 1 if you aren't going to have leftover sauce. I throw the leftovers into the red sauce pot so they will be already in there when I freeze.)
In a large saucier or skillet sautee the Italian Sausage for a few minutes until close to being done. Add the portabella mushrooms. Add the optional Cognac if desired. No cognac is better than an ultra cheap cognac and isn't worth going out and buying a bottle if you don't already have it on hand. Add about half of the remaining wine and simmer until the mushrooms are done and the wine has reduced. Drink the rest. Open second bottle and drink it for good measure.
Spoon about 2 to 3 cups of red sauce into the saucier or skillet ensuring to completely cover the sausage and mushrooms. Pour in 4 or 5 glugs of heavy whipping cream (I use the entire pint and possibly a little more since I buy HWC by the quarts.) Stir until it is well blended and check the color. I prefer a lighter pink because more bad stuff for you is better; but if you are worried about calories or cholesterol, put less or use the yogurt or even fat free half and half. Heat sauce on low heat but do not bring to a boil. If you heat too much or two fast, the dairy will clabber, clot, or whatever you call (Go gritty.) Throw in the shrimp and remove from heat when the shrimp are beginning to pinken. The shrimp will continue to cook while sitting in the pan for a few minutes. Done shrimp should still have a little translucence. White-white shrimp are rubber shrimp and overdone.
Pour over penne pasta or whatever pasta you prefer. Serve with crusty bread for those unconcerned about manners to "sop" the sauce. I always offer salad, but it always goes to waste. They pig on the sauce.
For a variation, leave out the shrimp and sausage and poor over Ravioli. If you don't want to hassle with making your own, the freshish pre-made stuff in the refrigerator section in the grocery store is almost as good. I prefer the large, 4 cheese asiago type over the smaller ones. My daughter tells me Schwann's has a 4 cheese ravioli that is frozen and easy as well. I rarely have the time to make homemade ravioli anymore unfortunately. If you do, it is worth it due to the lovely variations on fillings you can do, especially if you are a seafood lover as I am.
I expect I've left some things out as I've written this from memory. I will check it and edit the next time I make this. I apologize for the lack of technicality of the recipe. It's the way I cook.