Friday, October 17, 2014 is National Pasta Day. Are you planning on celebrating by preparing your families favorite pasta dish?
I love pasta. I love it a lot. I could eat it every day at every meal if it was possible. I’ve never met a pasta dish that I didn’t fully enjoy. My family enjoys pasta too (thankfully).
The great thing about pasta dishes is that they are typically super easy and quick to prepare. You can have a big bowl of spaghetti with sauce on the table for your family in a matter of minutes. That is why pasta is my “go-to” meal option on those nights where I don’t have anything defrosted for dinner or I’m just too tired to cook a bit meal.
One of our favorite pasta dishes is spaghetti tacos (pictured above). It’s spaghetti served in warmed taco shells. Sometimes we add meat and cheeses too.
What if you were asked to celebrate National Pasta Day WITHOUT using pasta? That seems like a very odd request. How can you celebrate day dedicated to pasta without pasta?
Earlier this week I was asked to just that – created a pasta-less pasta dish.
I’m not a “foodie”. I know a lot of bloggers who are. I’m always amazed at how they can wipe out drool-worthy recipes with just a few ingredients and an idea. I love how creative those types of bloggers are. I wish I could be more like that.
I have been known to make a meal out of odd ingredients that might not sound like they would go well together but actually do, like pineapple and mushrooms. Yumm!
Earlier this week myself and a few other bloggers were invited to an event hosted by Ragu in New York City. I grew up with Ragu. It was the only pasta sauce my mom ever used. As far as my family was concerned there was no other pasta sauce available but Ragu. My mom wasn’t even tempted to try another brand.
I married into a 100% Italian family. My mother in law made her own sauce and “gravy” every Sunday. Needless to say she wasn’t exactly too keen on me using sauce from a jar but that was OK with me. It’s what I grew up with.
When I arrived at the event I was thinking we were going to learn how to make some delicious pasta dishes using Ragu’s sauces. That was some what correct, but there was a twist. We learned how to make pasta-less pasta dishes in honor of National Pasta Day.
One of the recipes we learned how to make was Cauliflower “Mac” and Cheese. It was made with cooked cauliflower, bread crumbs and a jar of Ragu Cheese Sauce. You could even toss in other ingredients like bacon and/or peas.
I know what you are thinking. How can cauliflower make a delicious “mac and cheese”? I wondered that too. I happen to like cauliflower, but my family won’t eat it. I was surprised just how delicious the Cauliflower “Mac” and Cheese tasted. It was so good that I plan on making it for my family. I think they will enjoy it too and I’ll finally be able to get them to eat cauliflower.
Ragu’s chef (I wish I could remember her name!) also showed up how to make Eggplant Lasagna which is basically lasagna but instead of pasta you use sliced of eggplant.
Then came the big surprise. We were paired up and told to create our own “impasta” recipe (a pasta-less pasta recipe). Yikes! I had no clue what to make. Thankfully there were plenty of wonderful ingredients made available to use so we could get as creative as we wanted to.
I was paired up with David from SpicedBlog.com. If you’d like the Cauliflower “Mac” and Cheese and other recipes we were taught how to make you should visit his website. David was kind enough to list the recipes on his site – National Pasta Day.
I wish I could give you the specifics for the recipe we created, such as how much of each ingredient. We didn’t measure anything. We literally just put together ingredients we thought would taste great together.
Our recipe consisted of the following.
In a pan we drizzled some olive oil and sauteed some pancetta, onions, red peppers, garlic, a pinch of salt and basil. We also roasted some squash with a drizzle of olive oil on top. Once our ingredients were ready we mixed them into a bowl of cooked spaghetti squash that had prepared (so it looked like real spaghetti). After tossing in all our ingredients we added some ricotta cheese, spinach, breadcrumbs and about 1/2 a jar of Ragu Chunky Tomato, Garlic and Onion sauce. We also topped our dish off with more of the Ragu sauce, breadcrumbs and some Parmesan cheese. We even topped it off with some fresh basil leaves which sadly shriveled up in the oven when it was baking.
Our “impasta” turned out SO GOOD! I was very impressed. I think we did a great job (it was YUMMY!). I wish I had a way of taking some home with me to share with my family.
After all the teams were done we sat down for lunch and sampled each others creation. The dishes were all A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! It’s hard to believe that all the dishes were made our of veggies, Ragu sauce and other ingredients EXCEPT pasta. Most of the dishes were meatless too with the exception of some pancetta.
It was an eye opening experience. I’m excited to try and come up with more pasta-less pasta dishes.
If you would like more recipe ideas visit Ragu.com. You can also find the brand (and recipe ideas!) on Facebook and Twitter. If you would like some great “impasta” recipes check out Ragu’s National Pasta Day Impastas Pinterest page. Use the hashtag #NationalPastaDay for more recipe ideas.
Ragu is also hosting a Twitter party on Friday, October 17, 2014 (National Pasta Day) at 1:00 PM (EST). They will be giving away a lot of prizes including a $750 grand prize!
Here are the details.
When: Friday, October 17, 2014 at 1PM EST
Where: #NationalPastaDay on Twitter
Follow: @Crowdtappers & @RaguSauce
Prizes: $725 in Visa gift cards
Questions: Ask @Crowdtappers
Are you planning on celebrating National Pasta Day? What is your favorite pasta dish? What do you think about the idea of creating “Impastas”? Do you think it’s something you and your family would enjoy? Feel free to comment and share your thoughts.
*I was compensated for my participation however the opinions expressed are entirely my own and not influenced in any way.