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~ Coconut-Creamy, Island-Style, Rasta-Pasta Sauce ~

IMG_6281One of my favorite entrées in an Italian-American restaurant is Fettucchini Alfredo and I always order it a la primavera-style, meaning I'm asking for vegetables to be tossed into it, hence the name of my own recipe, Fabulous Fettuccine Alfredo a la Primavera-Style.  I could easily choose to order the Alfredo with the very popular chicken or shrimp options, but, neither appeals to me.  The rich, creamy, parmesan-laced sauce that enrobes the tender strands of al dente egg-pasta and colorful crunch-tender blanched veggies needs no meat or seafood to entice me.

Jamaican cuisine fused w/Italian-American cuisine?  Yea mon.

IMG_6224If you have a Caribbean-style restaurant in your proximity, a dish called Rasta Pasta is most likely on the menu -- a creamy, Jamaican-spiced penne pasta, studded with colorful vegetables and often served with or to the side of Jamaican-jerk chicken or shrimp.  It is the Jamaican take on the Italian-American Alfredo primavera.  It's easy to assume the title "Rasta" is associated with Rastafarianism, which would require the fare to be vegetarian -- no meat or shellfish.  No Mon.  It implies the colors of the veggies used, which are bell peppers:  red, orange or yellow and green.

IMG_6134Like Fettuccini Alfredo, Rasta Pasta is not hard to make, and, also like Fettuccini Alfredo, there are time-saving store-bought options available.  For Rasta Pasta, the most popular is Knorr's Parma Rosa dry sauce mix.  Simply combine the contents with 1 1/4 cups milk, a bit of butter, plus a tablespoon of Jamaican jerk seasoning blend, simmer it on the stovetop until it thickens, and, voila -- quickie Rasta Pasta sauce.  It is tasty, but, c'mon mon, I can do better than that.

My Coconut-Creamy Island-Style Rasta Pasta sauce:

IMG_60734  tablespoons salted butter

4  tablespoons, unbleached all-purpose flour

2  tablespoons jerk seasoning

1  teaspoon dried thyme leaves

3/4  teaspoon garlic powder

1/8  teaspoon Scotch bonnet pepper powder

2  13 1/2-ounce cans coconut milk

1  14 1/2-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained

1  cup finely-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

IMG_6081 IMG_6081 IMG_6081 IMG_6081 IMG_6081 IMG_6081~Step 1.  In a small ramekin, stir together the flour and dry spices: the jerk seasoning, thyme leaves, garlic powder and Scotch bonnet pepper powder. In a 3 1/2-quart chef's pan, melt butter over low heat.  Increase heat to medium and stir in the flour, jerk seasoning, thyme leaves, Scotch bonnet pepper powder and garlic powder.  Using a large spoon, stirring constantly, cook until mixture (roux) is thick and bubbly, 30-45 seconds.

IMG_6103 IMG_6103 IMG_6103 IMG_6103~Step 2.  Add the coconut milk, in a slow steady stream, stirring constantly and vigorously.  Stir in the diced tomatoes.  Carefully adjust heat to a gentle simmer (not too high or it will scorch) and continue to cook until smooth, thickened and drizzly, about 2 1/2-3 minutes.  Turn the heat to low.

IMG_6116 IMG_6116 IMG_6116~ Step 3.  Sprinkle in the Parm-Regg.  The finely-grated cheese will melt evenly, quickly and almost instantly.  Stir until the mixture is smooth and ribbon like.  You will have 6 cups of coconut-creamy, Rasta Pasta Sauce, better than any store-bought sauce packet can deliver.  Cover and remove from heat.

Note:  This sauce can be made 1-3 days in advance, stored in the refrigerator and gently reheated on the stovetop or in the microwave when ready to proceed with recipe.

Coconut-creamy bold-flavored Island-style pasta sauce: 

IMG_6125Creamy, pink, pretty & ready to sauce my Rasta Pasta:

IMG_6305Coconut-Creamy, Island-Style, Rasta-Pasta Sauce:  Recipe yields 6 cups sauce, enough to sauce 2 pounds pasta.

Special Equipment List:  3 1/2-quart chef's pan w/straight, deep sides & lid; large spoon

6a0120a8551282970b022ad37f6db2200cCook's Note: Throughout the Caribbean, "patties" are a staple, and depending on which country or island they are from or made on, the pastry crusts and the meat fillings (beef, goat, lamb, pork, chicken, fish or seafood) differ quite a bit.  Some crusts are baked, others are fried, and still others are more puff-pastry like than pie-dough like.  ~ Don't Worry, Be Happy:  Jamaican-Style Beef Patties ~ is my take on this Caribbean-Island classic.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2018)


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