Apparently there is this restaurant in the Philippines called Cibo's. I'd never heard of it before, 'cause, well it's in the Philippines. It's not like I can hop in the car for a quick trip or anything like that.
I have seen several blogs that "hack" their Penne al Telephono though. It sounded mouth watering good. Then I saw a little blurb at the bottom of one post that said if you want to copy their Rigatoni Alphonso, just add crab sauteed in butter, and swap the penne for rigatoni. Sign me up for that!
I may have peed myself a little it was so good.
Yes, I literally patted myself on the back when I made this.
The recipe I used was from Pepper.ph. I had to make a few minor changes to the recipe, but nothing majorly flavor altering.
First, they were all out of rigatoni at the store. I don't get it, but there was zero rigatoni on the shelf. Maybe everyone was making this recipe? I don't know! I figured since the non crab version used penne, I'd settle for that noodle shape.
Next, I discovered that I only had diced tomatoes in my pantry. The recipe calls for crushed tomatoes, so I threw a can of fire roasted tomatoes into the blender and pulsed it so it was just slightly chunky.
Finally, I used imitation crab meat. Yes. I know that some of you are screaming in horror. I've said it once and I'll say it again: I live in the midwest. Fresh crab is insanely expensive. I don't even want to think about it. So I used the fake stuff. As we don't live anywhere close to getting fresh from the ocean crab, no one in my family can tell the difference. If you are lucky to live on the coast, by all means use the real stuff!
One thing I didn't change was the call for cream. I knew it would make or break this dish. I rarely use actual cream, so I thought it was time for a little treat.
Blockette wanted to know what made the dish pink and I told her it was the tomatoes and cream. She eyed me funny and sceptically asked, "What kind of cream?" I replied, "Cream. Cream cream." To which she replied, "No. What KIND of cream." Wherein I had to explain that it wasn't sour cream or cream cheese, but cream. The kind of cream that they make ice cream with." Never mind that she watched me make dinner and pull the tiny milk carton out of the fridge.
The ice cream part must have intrigued her because after that, she dug right in. I swear her eyes rolled to the back of her head. Now she wants to eat this every week! I told her that wasn't going to happen, but that I would make the dish again.
Crab Penne al Telephono from Pepper.ph
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp chopped onion
1 tsp garlic
1 regular can crushed tomatoes (I used a 15oz can)
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp fine salt (I omitted this as the bouillon was salty enough)
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 cup water
1/2 chicken bouillon cube (I measured out a cup of boiling water, dissolved the cube and then dumped out half of the broth mixture.)
1 cup cream
1 package of imitation crab meat
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese (I used a preshredded Italian blend, and it was probably closer to 1 c cheese. )
1/2 lb uncooked penne pasta
Cook pasta directed in package. Meanwhile, heat pan and sauté onion and garlic until soft. Add in crushed tomatoes and water. Season with sugar, salt, pepper and chicken broth. Simmer for 20 minutes or until thick. Add crab and cream and simmer for another minute. Add pasta, and then cheese. Stir for 1-2 min until cheese is melted and stringy.
p.s. It is sadness that this dish isn't nearly as good in leftover form. I can never seem to get cream based pasta dishes to taste as amazing as they did the first time around.