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Orecchiette with Sausage, Broccoli, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes | Relishing It

As much as I love to dabble in the kitchen all day long, I admit that there are days when our family is busy or I just don’t feel like dedicating  that much time to dinner.  The problem is, I don’t like to fall back on some overly-processed meal-in-a-box as the alternative.  Sound familiar?  I’ve found that it’s helpful to have a few quick, delicious dishes up my sleeve, and in talking with friends and family I’ve come to realize that I need to blog more about those types of meals.  If you need a little inspiration, I hope you find it in a few of the coming recipes for quick meals that I’ll be writing about throughout the winter.

Orecchiette with Sausage, Broccoli, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes | Relishing It

This orecchiette with sausage, broccoli, and sun-dried tomatoes, takes barely any time at all.  Maybe 30 minutes to get it on the table, if even.  I love to load a meal up with a healthy vegetable– the broccoli (or broccoli rabe, if you prefer) is just lovely in this dish.  Pairing it with sweet italian sausage is always a good decision.  Make sure to buy a good sweet italian sausage– we get ours locally and the spices are amazing!  And remember all of those sun-dried tomatoes I’ve been making?  The ones I put in a jar of olive oil are absolutely sublime in here.  If you didn’t dedicate the time to preparing your own, you can always buy a jar at your local market.  I like to kick this dish up with a few sprinkles of red pepper flakes and some freshly grated parmesan.  So, even if you’re pressed for time, I hope you can sit down and enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal.  Enjoy!

Orecchiette with Sausage, Broccoli, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes | Relishing It

The Recipe:  Orecchiette with Sausage, Broccoli, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

(serves 4)

1 pound sweet Italian sausage

1 large head broccoli, cut into small florets (around 4 1/2 cups)

1/2 pound dried orecchiette

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 – 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil  (or substitute part of it with the olive oil from sun-dried tomatoes, if you can spare any)

1/3  cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil

1/3 cup (or more) parmesan cheese, for garnish

red pepper flakes, for garnish

Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a boil.

In a large 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat, brown the sweet italian sausage.  Drain grease.  Meanwhile, cook the pasta.  To the skillet add the olive oil (if you can spare any from the sun-dried tomatoes, the flavor is incredible), garlic, and broccoli and cook until the broccoli is tender, but not mushy– about 5 minutes.  When the pasta is al dente (follow the cooking instructions), reserve a bit of the water, and drain the rest.  Add the hot pasta to the pan of sausage and broccoli.  Toss in the sun-dried tomatoes.  If more moisture is needed, either loosen with more olive oil, or a bit of pasta water.  Salt and pepper, as needed.  This is big– don’t forget the salt!  Top with parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

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This is one of my family’s favorite weeknight meals.  It’s quick, easy, pretty healthy, and best of all it tastes fantastic.  The pea and mint combination is so refreshing– it’s perfect for this time of the year and will remind you of Spring.  Ideally, I like to use fresh peas in this dish, but frozen ones make an exceptional alternative.  And the little salty bites of crisp, smoky bacon are a nice contrast to the fresh flavors.

Now I love a good, rich carbonara– really, I do.  But this dish is not thick and creamy.  This is a much lighter version that contains very little cream and only one egg.  Despite this, it works remarkably well.   I reserve the heavy version for an evening when I feel like being a bit more indulgent,  but for our everyday meals, I cut back significantly.  The key to this recipe is to remember that it’s really just an outline.  Use as much bacon, mint, peas, and parmesan cheese as you like- it’s a matter of personal taste.  My family loves peas, so we use an entire package.  You can certainly add more parmesan, as well.  Just remember to loosen the pasta with reserved pasta water to get the level of creaminess that you want.  And most importantly, be ready to eat this dish immediately.  The creaminess will not last long, so it’s best served right away.

One last thing:  be sure to enter my cookbook giveaway I’m having to celebrate Relishing It’s First Anniversary– enter here!

The Recipe: Whole Wheat Pasta Carbonara with Bacon, Peas, and Mint

(Makes 4 servings)

1  pound of whole wheat spaghetti or linguine

1 10 ounce package of organic sweet peas

6-8 slices bacon, or more to taste

handful of grated parmesan or grana padano cheese (about 1/2 cup)

about 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

1 large organic egg lightly beaten with 1/4 cup organic heavy cream

a few grates of fresh nutmeg

Cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp.  Remove from pan and wipe pan clean with a paper towel.  Chop the bacon and set aside.   In a small bowl lightly beat the egg, cream, and nutmeg together.  Set aside.  Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to directions on package.  Add the peas into the hot water when the pasta is one minute from being “al dente”.  Reserve one cup of the pasta water.  Drain pasta and peas and pour into the skillet the bacon was cooked into.  Pour the egg/cream/nutmeg mixture over the hot pasta and toss with thongs.  The hot pasta will cook the egg.  Add a bit of the reserved pasta water to loosen the pasta more, if you desire.  Sprinkle the parmesan over the pasta.  Top with the chopped bacon and chopped mint.  Eat immediately!  Enjoy.

Source:  Adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Dinners

Thanks for stopping by!

Laurie

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