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!

Roasted Vegetable & Goat Cheese Salad

It is either a mark of supreme laziness or supreme awesomeness that with one 35 minute rotation through my oven last night, we now have the basis for a week’s worth of meals sitting pretty in our refrigerator.

Given that I was able to spend Sunday brunching with the Hubs, imbibing with our friends, and snoozing/alternately chowing down on cheese through the Oscars, I think we can all agree that supreme awesomeness is more likely.  Bonus: our grocery bill was kind to us this week, too.

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Roasted Vegetable & Goat Cheese Salad

  • assorted root vegetables, peeled & diced.  Note: you can use any variety you like (obviously).  This is what we roasted here at home:
    • 3 parsnips
    • 4 carrots
    • 1 sweet potato
    • 3 pounds or so butternut squash
    • 1 bulb fennel (quartered, not diced)
    • 1 red onion (quartered, not diced)
  • 1 bag baby spinach
  • dried cranberries
  • crumbled goat cheese
  • homemade dressing (or any dressing you like)
  • optional: nuts, prosciutto, etc.

(Do we even need directions?)

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.  Peel, dice and appropriately chop your vegetables and scatter in large baking dishes.  Toss in olive oil, salt and pepper; feel free to use your favorite spices, as well.  Roast for about 35 minutes.
  2. As the veggies come out of the oven, assemble your salad – the warmth of the vegetables will slightly melt the goat cheese, creating a delicious creaminess, and lightly wilt the spinach.  Spoon a little dressing over the salad and serve immediately.  Preferably with some cheese + charcuterie.

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The Verdict:

The Husband was highly skeptical of a “salad” for dinner.  I sweetened the deal with an accompanying cheese board, and we both went to bed with full & happy stomaches.  I just wish that bedtime had happened a little earlier…too much Oscars!

Vegetable Pasta with Sherry Gorgonzola Cream Sauce

Remember that time when I said everything on here would be relatively healthy?

Welp, relatively was the operative word in that promise.  Also: it’s cold outside, and you deserve it.

creamy + cheesy + veggie +...carby
creamy + cheesy + veggie +…carby

Vegetable Pasta with Sherry Gorgonzola Cream Sauce

  • about half a box of pasta
  • olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • salt, pepper + crushed reds
  • 3-4 tablespoons sherry
  • large handful spinach
  • large handful kale
  • about 1/3 cup cream
  • 2-3 oz gorgonzola, crumbled
  • optional: parsley, parmesan
  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta to al dente.  Reserve a little bit of the starchy water for the sauce.
  2. Heat the olive oil and the butter in a saute pan over medium heat.  Add the onions, some salt, some crushed reds and gently cook the mixture as the pasta cooks (about 10 minutes or so).
  3. Add the sherry and cook off the alcohol; add the starchy water, cream, gorgonzola, spinach, and kale.  Add the pasta and bring the mixture to a quick boil to thicken the sauce.
  4. Serve immediately, topped with a bit of parsley and/or parmesan.  Contemplate going for a run…tomorrow.

The Verdict:

As you’ll note from the menu plan earlier this week, this wasn’t part of our plan this week.  This was a hail Mary after the Husband wasn’t able to make it home for dinner – it just didn’t feel right to make the asparagus tart without him!  Which also means this isn’t a “recipe” – this is a mix+match based on what’s in your fridge.  Sometimes, that’s just how you have to roll.

Red Lentil Soup with Kale and Spinach

That moment when you’ve come back from a trip and it’s freezing and the idea of putting on your coat and going to the grocery store and lugging those groceries home and just, no, no, you just can’t?  That’s the moment for this soup, inspired by my fridge…and the Kitchn.  Every single ingredient was already in my fridge or my pantry- and is likely in yours, too.  And if not? Just substitute in the veggies that are.

so many veggies in one pot!
so many veggies in one pot!

Red Lentil Soup with Kale and Spinach

  • olive oil
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2-3 ribs celery, diced
  • optional: any other leftover vegetables you might have laying about – I threw in some yellow bell pepper, which was lovely
  • 1 onion, diced
  • salt, pepper & crushed reds (you know, the essentials)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • about a cup red lentils, rinsed and picked
  • about 4-6 cups broth and/or water, if you don’t have broth…more or less depending on how “soupy” you like your soup
  • 2-3 dried bay leaves
  • dash cumin
  • large handful kale
  • large handful spinach
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • optional toppings: Greek yogurt, cilantro, parsley, etc.
  1. Heat some olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the carrots, celery, & onions, add a good pinch of salt, a dash of pepper & crushed reds, and cook gently – about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, cook for a minute or two, then add the lentils, give them a quick toss with the veggies, and add the broth, bay leaf, and a dash of cumin.
  3. Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce the heat.  Simmer with the cover on, about 12 minutes.
  4. Add the kale and spinach, stir through, and then cover and simmer another 8-10 minutes.
  5. Removing the soup from the heat, add the lemon juice, ladle into bowls and serve with your desired toppings.
so good & so good for you.
so good & so good for you.

The Verdict:

So healthy, so wallet friendly, so quick and easy.  What’s not to love?

Ri[ff]ing Off Martha: Hearty, Healthy Winter Vegetable Soup

While most of my kitchen gadgets bow down to Ina, I reserve a few for queen Martha.  Tonight, after a week full of (quite literally) stuffing ourselves with stuffing, pie, casserole, ice cream, turkey, and more pie,  I was ready for something a little more lenient on the arteries.  I’m also feeling a bit run-down, and with a lot going on at work this week, I can’t quite afford to succumb to a cold.  Tonight, inspiration by Martha, substitution by Varina (basically, whatever we had on hand).

Hearty, Healthy Winter Vegetable Soup

  • olive oil
  • 4 leeks (white and green parts only), thoroughly washed, halved lengthwise and then sliced thinly
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2-3 celery stalks, diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • crushed red pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed and loosely chopped
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes (again, highly recommend the pre-cut box at Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 potato, peeled and diced
  • 4-5 stalks baby bok choy
  • 1/2 bag baby spinach
  • 1 can Northern White beans, rinsed and drained
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 2-3 stalks fresh rosemary (or whatever fresh herbs you have)
  • salt, pepper
  1. Heat 2-3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan or Dutch oven.  Cook leeks, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, a good handful of red pepper flakes, and a good dash of salt for about 5-8 minutes, or until the veggies are cooked down and translucent.
  2. Add stock and water.  Mix through and bring to a boil (will take a few minutes).
  3. Add squash and potatoes, mix through, and return to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, partially uncovered for about 15 minutes, or until potatoes and squash are tender.
  4. Stir in bok choy, spinach, and beans; bring back to a boil.  Add the lemon juice and rosemary and cook a few more minutes.
  5. Season with salt and freshly cracked pepper and serve with crusty bread.
veggies to the rescue
veggies to the rescue
straight from the oven
straight from the oven

(Cutting board a gift of the gifted Taylor Mardis Katz of Free Verse Farm.)

The Verdict:

The Husband put it best: “Just what the doctor ordered.”  Only we’re hoping for no doctors around here.  This is a soup for the rotation – really, it just gives me confidence that if you throw all good ingredients into a pot, you’ll get a good meal on your plate (or bowl).  Bonus: plenty of leftovers for the week ahead.