GINNA PARSONS: Daughter makes kitchen debut

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

My little girl is growing up. Last week, 18-year-old Mary announced she wanted to prepare dinner for the family. Let me just say, this was a first.
When she was barely a teenager, she became interested in making desserts. She mastered a four-layer chocolate trifle early on and then moved on to cupcakes and cookies.
But as far as I knew, the only thing Mary could “cook” was a grilled cheese sandwich.
That changed last Wednesday.
Apparently, the impetus for this kitchen adventure was a trip Mary made to Jackson the week before. She stayed with a girlfriend, Molly, who regularly prepares meals for her family. This impressed Mary immensely.
So last week, she and I (and brother Patrick) met at Finney’s for lunch to peruse two recipes she was considering.
One of them had 20 ingredients and involved marinating, boiling, pan sautéing and the making of gravy. The other one, which sounded equally delicious, had six ingredients and could be made in less than 30 minutes.
We opted for the second recipe.
Mary shopped for the groceries and prepared the entire meal – salad and French bread included – largely by herself with very little direction from me (I showed her how to chop a tomato and chiffonade basil).
When I say it was fabulous, I’m not exaggerating. The flavors were perfect – just right for summer. The presentation was pretty and there were no leftovers. Best of all, Mary gained some confidence in the kitchen.

Tuscan Pasta
with Tomato-Basil Cream
1 (20-ounce) package Butoni refrigerated four-cheese ravioli
1 (16-ounce) jar Classico sun-dried tomato Alfredo sauce
2 tablespoons white wine
2 medium fresh tomatoes, chopped
1⁄2 cup chopped fresh basil
1⁄3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh basil strips, for garnish
Prepare pasta according to package directions.
Meanwhile, pour Alfredo sauce into medium saucepan. Pour wine into sauce jar, cover tightly, and shake well. Stir wine mixture into saucepan. Stir in chopped tomatoes and 1⁄2 cup chopped basil and cook over medium-low heat 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Toss with pasta and top evenly with grated Parmesan cheese. Garnish with basil strips.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Note: We couldn’t find the Alfredo sauce at Kroger, but Walmart had it.
Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.