Lemon and Ricotta Pappardelle with Baby Kale

Another day, another big bowl of pasta.  (Beach season is almost over, right?)

This is the kind of dinner you make when mostly you’re just thinking about takeout.  In other words, it’s not really a recipe, but a scrounging of things that exist in your refrigerator (frost living!) that will save you $25 so you can apply that to your next run to Current Boutique (or whatever you save your pennies for). I’m not anything but future-oriented when it comes to consignment.

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Lemon and Ricotta Pappardelle with Baby Kale

  • 1 bag pre-washed baby kale
  • 1 bag pappardelle pasta
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • about 1 cup ricotta cheese (whole milk, I say!)
  • Parmesan cheese
  • salt, pepper, crushed red pepper
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter
  1. In a large saute pan, heat olive oil and butter together over medium heat.  Add shallot and lower heat, cook down slowly, until translucent (about 5-10 minutes).  Add a bit of salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper.  Add the minced garlic.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and add your pasta.  Cook according to directions.  Drain, reserving about a cup of starchy water.
  3. Add the baby kale (or whatever greens you have) to the saute pan and cook down until wilted.  Add the pasta to the pan, a squeeze of lemon, the ricotta cheese, and a splash of the reserved water.  Mix through until a creamy sauce forms – add more water, as needed.
  4. Serve topped with Parmesan cheese; eat wearing sweatpants.

The Verdict:

If pappardelle is on the menu – anywhere, including in my own house – there’s a 110% chance I’m ordering it.  I just can’t say no.  This bowl of goodness is worth the Dadbod.

Baked Rigatoni with Ground Turkey

Right before we left for Miami last weekend, I had a conundrum.  We had nothing in the fridge.  We were leaving in the morning, so running to the grocery store didn’t seem practical.  I didn’t want to go out to dinner or order takeout – we were about to spend three days in a place known for $16 actually $24 cocktails (side note: who thought it would be appropriate to charge MORE than the price of a whole pizza for a little bit of rum in a plastic cup!?).

So I thought about it and scrounged around and made this.  And felt really pleased with myself when we had leftovers sitting in our fridge when we got home Sunday night. Varina: 1, bathing suit: 0.

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Baked Rigatoni with Ground Turkey

  • olive oil
  • one tablespoon of butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • salt, pepper, crushed reds, a little bit of oregano or Italian seasoning
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jar good tomato sauce (obviously, make your own if you have the ingredients on hand!)
  • 1-2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 box rigatoni
  • about half a bag of spinach
  • CHEESE, and lots of it.  I used a combination of grated mozzarella, parmesan, and gruyere.
  • fresh herbs – if you have them.  parsley & basil are lovely.
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F & prepare a baking dish with a little bit of cooking spray.
  2. In a large, deep skillet heat a little bit of olive oil and butter together; melt the butter over medium heat.  Add onions, a bit of salt, pepper and some crushed reds and cook down, 4-7 minutes.  Add garlic and ground turkey and break it up in the pan, so all sides can brown.
  3. Get your pasta water boiling; cook pasta slightly less than al dente, so it returns some crunch once it’s out of the oven.
  4. Once the turkey has cooked though, add tomato paste, mix through, and then add tomato sauce.  Mix thoroughly.  Add cooked pasta and spinach; give the whole thing a good toss.  Add about half your cheese and mix again.  If you have herbs, you can add them to the mix, as well.
  5. Scoop the pasta and turkey mixture into your baking dish and top with cheese and a little bit more sauce.  Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the cheese is nice and bubbly.

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The Verdict:

There is simply no way to mess this one up.  Add all the vegetables you have – mushrooms, shallots, peppers, whatever you please.  Make your own sauce.  Leave out the meat.  Use all the cheeses you have.  Get out your bathing suit and do a little happy dance, especially if you’re married to my husband, who doesn’t like the the crusty side parts as much as the middle, so you get all the best parts.

One Pot Pasta: Sausage & Sage Vegetable Rigatoni

Let’s just say we won’t have high electricity bills stemming from time spent in the kitchen this month.  I’ve had more important things to worry about…like, HOW in the world are we going to keep up with a bunch of 25 year olds this weekend?

And, almost as important, what do you wear while doing it? Full disclosure: I shop at Talbot’s and I LOVE it.  But I’m guessing they haven’t necessarily penetrated the 25 year old market segment.  (To the 25 year old’s detriment, to be quite frank.  Talbot’s is amazing.  And Talbot’s sale rack? Don’t even get me started.)

In the meantime, I did take a break from these important questions to whip this up last night.
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Sausage and Sage Vegetable Rigatoni

  • half box pasta
  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt, pepper & crushed reds
  • 8-10 leaves fresh sage, roughly chopped
  • 1 big handful cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 carton mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 links hot Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1-2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup pasta water, reserved
  • most of a bag of baby spinach
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  1. In a large, deep skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onions, a bit of salt, pepper and crushed reds, and lower the temp; cook for about 8-10 minutes to get them nice and translucent.
  2. While the onions cook, boil water for the pasta and cook pasta according to the directions for al dente.  Reserve a little bit of the starchy water for making a sauce.
  3. Add the tomatoes, mushrooms and sage to the onions.  Cook down 3-4 minutes before adding the garlic.  Add the apple cider vinegar and a bit off wine; cook of the alcohol.
  4. Add the sausage, crumble it in the pan, and cook all the way through.  You may want to drain off a little bit of fat – if you do, you might consider adding more wine for a little bit of a sauce.  Pasta water will also work well, if you want to add that.  When the sausage is cooked through, add the pasta and give the mixture a toss.  Add Parmesan and spinach and cover, letting the spinach wilt into the mixture a bit.
  5. Season to taste and serve, maybe top with a little more sage and Parmesan.

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The Verdict:

According to the Husband – someone who actually doesn’t like sausage – this was “awesome.”  Make it from any combination of pasta, meat and veggies in your fridge for a little frost living action.  And it made plenty for lunch…giving me more time to prep for our weekend in Cincinnati!

Cheesy Polenta & Mushroom Chickpea Medley

So.  It’s Friday and I still haven’t posted my menu plan for the week.  This is because March is #crazypants and there IS no menu plan.  I’ve been eating cereal for dinner.

March is regularly the month where work becomes a little more insane than usual, and cooking/exercising/sleeping/being a nice person (sometimes, I do try to be one!) goes by the wayside.  Planning, schmanning.

And then yesterday, we had a glorious snow day, and I scrounged around in the pantry and came out with this heaping bowl of comfort – inspired by Cooking Light.

IMG_3152Cheesy Polenta & Mushroom Chickpea Medley

  • olive oil
  • 2 cartons mushrooms, sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large red onion, sliced
  • leaves from about 10 fresh thyme sprigs
  • about 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3 tablespoons or so balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup veggie or chicken stock
  • salt, pepper, crushed reds
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 box instant polenta and…
    • 4 1/2 cups water
    • blue cheese
    • a little pat butter
    • salt, pepper
    • about a cup of parmesan
  • topping: parsley (note: this would probably be heavenly tossed with a little arugula, which I did not have on hand)
  1. In a large, deep skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Add mushrooms, onion and thyme; cook down about 4-5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook an additional 3-4 minutes.  Add white wine and vinegar, cook down a few minutes.  Add broth and season with salt and pepper.  Add chickpeas, bring the whole thing to a boil, reduce heat and simmer.
  2. For the polenta, bring your water to a roiling boil.  Add the polenta slowly – whisk swiftly so it doesn’t clump!  Remove from heat after it thickens and add your cheese.  I added the blue cheese cream from the steaks we had for Valentine’s Day as well as a hefty about of parmesan.  Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Place the polenta at the bottom of a bowl, top with the mushroom mixture, a little bit of parmesan and the parsley.

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The Verdict:

This is basically just comfort food in one bowl.  March: bring it on.

Roasted Vegetable Soup

A week after roasting about 5 pounds of root vegetables, we’re finally finishing them off, much to the Husband’s delight.  I snuck roasted veggies in salads, on tarts, into a bowl of macaroni and cheese, and finally, into this soup.

Husband is so delighted, in fact, that he volunteered to go to the grocery store tonight after work.  If I understood anything about how odds are calculated, I would put a numeric figure here; since I don’t, I will just say that odds are very high we will not be eating vegetarian tonight.

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Roasted Vegetable Soup

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2-3 cups roasted vegetables (our mix included parsnips, carrots, butternut squash, sweet potato, onion, fennel)
  • salt & pepper
  • fresh sage (about 4 leaves) and fresh thyme (leaves from about 6-8 stems)
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2-3 cups veggie or chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • optional toppings: green onions, sage, sour cream, pistachios, etc.
  1. In a large Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add garlic and cook for a minute or two.  Add vegetables and season with salt and pepper.  Add the fresh herbs and cook for about 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add the white wine to deglaze the bottom of the pan.  Cook off the alcohol (2-3 minutes) and add the stock.  Turn down the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for about 10 minutes.  (Note: this is an ideal time to get cornbread going! Recipe here.)
  3. Working in small batches in a blender/food processor OR with your awesome immersion blender, blend the stock, veggies and herbs together.  Add stock, as needed, for desired consistency. Season, if needed.
  4. Remove from heat and add the cream, mixing thoroughly.  Serve immediately with desired toppings…and with cornbread, of course!

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The Verdict:

While I debated the merit of posting a recipe that sounds a little too familiar (I did say that there were about 1001 variations on our favorite butternut squash soup), ultimately, I decided this was dinner chez nous last night, so I might as well.  (The real risk is probably in trying to make the Husband eat more roasted veggies.)  In the meantime, this is delicious, filling and makes tons of leftovers – using 100% ingredients that were already in my fridge.  Score for frost living.