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Dressed-up bowties with fancy Alfredo recipe

February 13, 2008|By BEVERLY MILLS, with ALICIA ROSS

Start to finish: 20 minutes

12 ounces bowtie pasta or other short pasta
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 large onion (for about 1 cup chopped)
1 cup diced ripe Roma tomato or grape-tomato halves
2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
1/4 cup white wine or water
1 jar (16 ounces) Alfredo sauce with sun-dried tomato (see Cook's notes)
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

Optional stir-ins:

3/4 cup vegetable of choice, or to taste, such as defrosted frozen green peas or corn; steamed broccoli florets; pitted ripe olives; canned artichoke hearts
1/2 to 3/4 cup protein of choice, to taste, such as diced ham or bacon bits; flaked tuna or smoked salmon; cooked diced chicken or turkey; cooked shrimp or scallops; firm bite-size tofu chunks

Cook's note: For testing purposes, we used the Classico brand. You can substitute any brand or other flavors, such as roasted garlic. If you can find only plain Alfredo sauce, stir in 2 tablespoons of chopped sun-dried tomatoes (soaked first in hot water if not packed in oil). If you prefer reduced-fat plain Alfredo sauce, it works, too.

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Bring 2 1/2 quarts of unsalted water to a boil in a covered 4 1/2-quart Dutch oven or soup pot. When the water reaches a rapid boil, add the pasta, and cook until just tender, according to the package directions, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Peel and chop the onion, adding it to the skillet as you cut. Cook, stirring from time to time, until the onion begins to get tender, about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, core the tomato, dice it and set aside. (Or for grape tomatoes, cut them in half.) Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the wine and stir and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the Alfredo sauce to the skillet, using a rubber spatula to get all remaining sauce out of the jar.

If using a vegetable, microwave if necessary to bring it to room temperature. Add the tomato, seasoning and optional vegetable of choice, and stir and cook for 1 minute. The optional protein of choice may be added now, or wait and top individual servings. (If cold, microwave as necessary to warm.)

When the pasta is done, drain it into a colander, shaking to remove as much water as possible. Add the pasta to the skillet with the sauce, and stir and toss gently until the pasta is covered with sauce. Serve at once.

Serves 6.

Nutrition information per serving (without optional stir-ins): 352 calories (27 percent from fat), 10 g fat (5 g saturated), 44 mg cholesterol, 11 g protein, 51 g carbohydrates, 4 g dietary fiber, 546 mg sodium.

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