Thursday, May 22, 2014

Bowtie* Festival

During the brief period of time when Tim and I were married but Julia was not yet born, we ate in restaurants pretty often. I never cooked on Sunday. We played tennis and swam. Watched Steeler games and napped.

Ah, the good old days. Almost two solid years of them.

One of our favorite spots was Johnny Carino's in Robinson Township. Tim would get Bowtie Festival or something with seafood. I rotated between a dish they called Timballo and Chicken Scallopini. We always shared a chocolate chip cannoli for dessert.

Just before Julia was born, we moved to another part of the Greater Pittsburgh area. We returned to JC's for occasional dinners as she grew. Julia loved the warm loaf of bread provided with olive oil for dipping. I started making Bowtie Festival at home because Tim missed it when Robinson got to be too much of a hike.

Then one day, we drove over to the Robinson Twp. Ikea with a planned stop at our old haunt for lunch. Mouths watering, we turned a corner and discovered Johnny Carino's had gone out of business. A sign indicated that soon the building would be repurposed as a Mexican restaurant. It was a sad day.

Thankfully, by now I'm an expert at Bowtie Festival. I've never seen gluten free bowties, so now I'm making it with rotini or in this case spaghetti. "Pasta Festival" sounds more like a street fair and the sauce did lend itself to the farfalle noodle. Hopefully someday those will go gluten free so our festival can be more traditional.

Any Kind of Noodle* Festival

Homemade Alfredo Sauce:
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tsp black pepper
2 T whole milk


Bertolli Alfredo Sauce and a stick of butter.

About 1/2 a jar of my buddy Bertolli

Festival Ingredients:

1/2 stick salted butter
large clove of garlic
1/8 c onion
1/2 package bacon cooked and crumbled
2 Roma tomatoes or about a pint of grape tomatoes
2 chicken breasts cooked and cut into strips
1 oz heavy cream
Alfredo sauce
1/2 cup Asiago cheese grated
salt & pepper to taste
8 oz. cooked pasta

What to do:

Cook chicken breasts and slice thinly. Cook bacon (I love the bacon button on the microwave). Saute garlic and onions in a large pan until almost translucent. Add chicken slices and bacon and continue sauteing until onions are done.
I'm always trying to add the tomatoes at a different time to see if I might please the whole
family. Tim dislikes uncooked tomatoes. Julia dislikes cooked tomatoes. Typically, no one
is happy. Except for me.

Add heavy cream, tomatoes, and Asiago cheese. Cook over low heat for about five minutes.

Add alfredo sauce (you might not need all of the sauce you made) and pasta. Toss until well mixed.

A bowl of pasta.
This is Barilla Gluten-Free Spaghetti. I can't tell the difference.

Sauce will thicken as it cools.

Spaghetti twirled on a fork.