Hagerstown woman finalist in national food contest

voting ends Thursday

July 16, 2013|By CRYSTAL SCHELLE |
  • Cheryl Lundquist of Hagerstown created the pasta dish Penne Palooza which is a finalist in the Creamette Pasta Comfort Food contest. The winner will receive $10,000.
Submitted photo

For some, nothing quite says comfort food more than pasta.

Creamette Pasta announced its Creamette Comfort Food Recipe and Essay Contest in March. Families were invited to submit their favorite comfort-food recipes, using Creamette Pasta, and an essay on what makes the dish so comforting.

 Cheryl Lundquist, 44, of Hagerstown has been named a finalist for the contest.

Lundquist is competing against nine other dishes for a chance to win $10,000. Nine first-prize winners will each receive $500. 

Creamette Pasta partnered with chef and cookbook author Ann Burckhardt to celebrate the pasta’s 100th anniversary by hosting the contest. 

Winners will be determined by an online vote at Voting closes Thursday, July 18. The winner will be announced on Thursday, Aug. 1.

While getting ready for her wedding, Lundquist took a few minutes late last week to chat about her dish and cooking. 

How long have you been cooking? 

Since I made homemade gingerbread men with my grandmother. I really became serious with creating unique recipes two years ago. 


What are your favorite things to make?

I love to experiment with different spices and global flavors. Italian and Mediterranean are favorite dishes to serve. I also enjoy grilling meats and fresh vegetables. 

I understand you like to do your own twist on traditional Italian dishes. Can you give me some other examples?

I make an awesome eggplant Florentine lasagna and a hearty chicken gnocchi soup. I also make a roasted Tuscan potato salad. All three of these recipes have won awards. 

Tell me about how you created this dish.

I knew I wanted a dish that was full of flavors and colors to impress, but also a dish easy enough for anyone to make on a weeknight. Pasta is so versatile it is easy to create something inspiring with ingredients you already have on hand. 

Is there a dish your hubby to be requests?

He loves my pan-seared scallops over angel-hair pasta.

Why did you enter the contest?

I enjoy the thrill of competitive cooking and I love using Creamette in my recipes. The prize is extremely enticing, too!

How do you believe your dish sets itself apart from the other dishes?

It’s a flavor winner and easy to make. The recipe and picture would look great on the back of the Creamette box.

If you win, you could walk away with $10,000. What plans do you have with the money?

 I just made a major move from North Carolina, am getting married and going on a honeymoon. I could definitely put that money to good use. I really want to self publish a cookbook and that would go toward that, too.

Why should people vote for your dish?

Because it brings up so many special memories related to fun family time and everyone can relate to that. Food has a way of bringing people together. 

Penne Palooza

16 ounces Creamette Penne Rigate

3 mild Italian sausage links

1 bunch asparagus

3 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

4 ounces gourmet mushroom blend, sliced

1 cup frozen green peas, thawed

1/4 cup sundried tomatoes in oil, diced

2 cup heavy cream

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh chopped basil to garnish

Cook penne according to directions and drain. 

In a large skillet, cook sausage on medium high for 5 minutes. Reduce heat and cover with 1/2 cup water and a lid for 12 more minutes. Slice sausage. 

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the skillet and saute mushrooms until tender. Add cream and sundried tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 3 to 4 minutes.

Place asparagus on a foiled lined baking sheet and drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over all. Sprinkle with salt and roast in a hot oven for 6 to 7 minutes. Cut asparagus into 1-inch pieces. Add penne, asparagus, Parmesan and peas to the mushroom-cream mixture and simmer until warmed through.

Salt and pepper to taste. 

Garnish with fresh basil.

— Cheryl Lundquist

Cast your vote

To vote for Cheryl Lundquist’s Penne Palooza, go to Voting closes Thursday, July 18. 

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