Baked Rotini with Tomatillo Tomato Sauce + a review of Kitchen-Aid 5 Speed Hand Blender

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I am a chronic list maker.  It’s a fact.  I have two lists on my refrigerator.  One is a running list of things we need at the market and the other is a list of menu planning ideas.  Next to me on the couch sit numerous lists.  I have a list for blog posts I need to write, photos I need to edit, cookbooks I need to review, and usually a list of things to do for the week.

Kitchen-Aid 5 speed hand blender

It doesn’t just stop at home either.  I have sticky note pads all over my classroom at work.  I keep two beside my computer.  One is for keeping track of IEP’s and MA forms and the other is for jotting down notes from e-mails.  On my desk I have two more sticky pads.  One is for tagging things for my assistant to do and the other is for personal notes.  In other words, I have a lot of lists.  I also try to keep a running list of items I’d like for cooking and baking but I’ve gotten almost everything on that list.   My favorite items I’ve gotten are my Kitchen-Aid Mixer (isn’t it beautiful!?) and my pasta attachments for the mixer.  My amazing husband bought me the mixer years ago and my parents bought me the pasta attachments for Christmas this past year.

However, there has been one item on my list for several years that never seems to appear and I never seem to buy myself.  It isn’t that I haven’t tried to buy it, I just haven’t found the one I want.  So imagine my surprise when I arrived home from school only to find a package from Kitchen-Aid on my porch.  When I looked to see what it was I squealed so loudly my husband thought something was wrong!  On my porch was this gorgeous Kitchen-Aid 5-Speed Hand Blender. I’ve been wanting a hand blender for years because I hate transferring hot liquids to my food processor or blender then transferring them back to the pot whenever I need something blended.

How cool is this carrying case?

This is no ordinary hand blender though.  This bad boy has an 8 inch blending arm which can go into deep pots and blend without me having to worry about burning my hand.  The blades are so easy to switch out and don’t require any tools.  The S-blade works great for blending, the multi-purpose blade crushes ice and the frother/beater blade froths milk and smoothies. If that wasn’t enough there’s also a whisk and a chopper attachment!  Plus it all comes in a great storage case that makes it easy to put away. My favorite part of the whole set is the pot guard.  It snaps on easily and protects my pots from the blades.  I love it!

As soon as I received the hand blender I opened it up and couldn’t wait to make dinner.  It was a little too warm outside to make soup but it was cool enough to make homemade pasta sauce.  I am not a fan of chunky sauces so I wanted to use the hand blender to smooth it out.   The sauce consisted of tomatoes, tomatillos, garlic, peppers, and seasonings.  The pasta dish was a baked pasta with roasted vegetables.

I heated up the sauce ingredients and simmered them for 30 minutes.  Once the flavors were melding together I placed the hand blender with the S-blade into the sauce and blended for a few minutes.  The guard kept my pan from getting damaged and the blade worked its magic.  The sauce turned a lighter orange color from the green tomatillos and the red tomatoes and it smoothed right out.  The hand blender worked like a champ and was fairly quiet as well.

Rotini with tomatillo sauce and roasted vegetables

I roasted up some vegetables with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic.  Then I layered everything in a pan with a few cheeses and baked it up.  I ended up with a delicious baked pasta layered with gooey cheese, flavorful roasted vegetables, and a tangy, smooth tomato sauce.

Baked Rotini with Tomatillo Tomato Sauce (a Hezzi-D original)
1 onion, chopped
1 head broccoli, cut into florets
1 acorn squash, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 large tomato, cored and chopped
10 tomatillos, halved
2 medium green peppers, diced
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper
1 1/2 t. Italian seasoning
1 T. olive oil
3 garlic cloves

For the sauce:
10 tomatillos, halved
6 large tomatoes, cored, and cut into quarters
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. oregano
2 t. sugar
6 oz. tomato paste
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, diced
1 T. lemon juice
1/2 c. pasta water

For the pasta:
12 oz. rotini
1 c. ricotta (part skim is fine)
1 c. mozzarella cheese
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese

1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Place the vegetables, salt, pepper, and olive oil on a baking sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven, add the garlic, and toss to combine.  Return to the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the vegetables begin to blacken.

2.  Place all of the sauce ingredients except for the pasta water in a medium sauce pan.  Bring to a boil then lower heat to a simmer.  Simmer for 30 minutes.

3.  Put the S-blade on a Kitchen-Aid hand blender and place the blender in the sauce pan.  Blend until smooth.  Heat for an additional 5 minutes.

4.  Cook the pasta according to the package directions.  Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water.  Keep pasta warm.

5.  Add the pasta water a tablespoon at a time to the tomato sauce, stirring after each addition, until desired consistency is reached.

6.  Pour the sauce, ricotta, roasted vegetables and pasta in a 9 x 13 baking dish.  Mix to combine.

7.  Sprinkle the pasta with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.  Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese has melted.

I received the Kitchen-Aid blender from the company but all opinions and photos are my own.

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