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Simple Pasta with Garlic, Chilies, and Lemon | Relishing It

This dish takes me back to my college years, except this is the grown-up version.  One of my go-to meals in college was a bowl of pasta with a splash of olive oil and a sprinkle of fresh parmesan– eaten with some of my girlfriends, of course.  There was rarely a time that I wasn’t in the mood for it and it always hit the spot.  So very simple.  A few many years later, this still remains a favorite comfort meal of mine, with a few tweaks, of course.

Simple Pasta with Garlic, Chilies, and Lemon | Relishing It

A delicious stunner of a meal doesn’t have to be complicated or take up your entire night to prepare.  This dish takes only minutes. In fact, in the time it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta you are finished.  Not bad, right?

Simple Pasta with Garlic, Chilies, and Lemon | Relishing It

The robust flavors are what make me love this dish.  Pungent garlic, spicy chili peppers, bright lemon juice and zest, fresh nutty parmesan, vibrant parsley, and even an anchovy (if you are so inclined) give this meal a wonderful depth.  You can customize it to fit your family’s needs, of course.  Not into spicy food?  Go ahead and skip the peppers.  I generally double the amount of spice when I make it for myself– I can’t get it hot enough.  The main trick of this dish, is to know that the finished pasta has to be thinned out with some reserved pasta water.  This is key.  The pasta water (containing all of its starches) clings to the pasta and creates a light, creamy sauce with the parmesan and olive oil.  It’s magical.  So, don’t be afraid to loosen it up with that water– it’s a necessity!

Simple Pasta with Garlic, Chiles, and Lemon | Relishing It

Another tip to know is that the garlic, onion, chili pepper, lemon zest, and hot pepper flakes need to be sautéed in the olive oil while the pasta is cooking.  This is important because it infuses the oil with a ton of flavor, but you’ll want to keep the temperature on the low side, so the garlic doesn’t burn.  This is a perfect meal when you are in the mood for delicious comfort food, but are a bit short on time.  Admittedly, this is not one of Radd’s favorite pasta dishes, which stuns me because it’s so amazing (he tends to lean toward the meat-full varieties), so I’ve written the recipe to serve one.  You can easily adjust if you are aiming for a larger portion.  Hope you enjoy!

Simple Pasta with Garlic, Chilies, and Lemon | Relishing It

The Recipe: Simple Pasta with Garlic, Chilies, and Lemon

(serves 1)

3 ounces long pasta (thin spaghetti works well here)

about 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, use more if needed

2 tablespoons finely minced red or white onion, or shallot

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

1 small anchovy, finely minced (optional, of course)

1 red chili pepper, finely minced (scale back or add more according to taste)

sprinkle of hot pepper flakes

zest of 1 lemon

juice of 1/2 lemon

1/4 cup good quality parmesan or grana padano cheese

large handful of freshly chopped parsley

1 cup of reserved pasta water (you most likely will not use all of it)

salt and pepper

Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a boil.  While the water is heating, chop the ingredients.

Add the dry pasta to the boiling water, be sure to add salt.

While the pasta is cooking, heat a small skillet with olive oil and add the garlic, onion, chili peppers, hot pepper flakes, lemon zest, and anchovy (if using).  Sauté over low-medium heat, stirring regularly.  Keep a watchful eye, so the garlic doesn’t burn.  You want to infuse the olive oil with all the flavors.  The vegetables should be tender by the time the pasta is finished cooking, or even a bit before.

Reserve about 1 cup of the cooking water and set aside.  Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet with the vegetables.  Add most of the cheese (reserving some to sprinkle on top), lemon juice, and a bit of the pasta water.  Combine using tongs.  Add more water, if you want it looser.  Season with a bit of salt and pepper, and top with the remaining parmesan, fresh parsley, and more red pepper flakes.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

 

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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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I seems like I’ve been preaching the ‘Spring vegetable gospel’ for the last few weeks.  I can’t help it.  That’s how excited I get about them.  For this dish, I decided to incorporate one of those Spring gems– fava beans.  They aren’t available for very long, so I grab them when I can.  Preparing fava beans is a little out-of-the-ordinary.  They need to first be shelled, then peeled.  Once you’ve removed the shells, boil for a few minutes and place them in an ice bath.  The light green peel then comes off easily.  It’s a bit of a process, but it’s worth it.  Fava beans are soft and delicious, and again, they’re versatile.  They’re perfect mixed into sauces, tossed into salads, or mashed into a fantastic bruschetta topping.

Fava beans are a great addition to the typical meat sauce like this one.  Here, they add an interesting texture, and pair wonderfully with the sweet Italian sausage and tomatoes.  I buy a local sausage that has plenty of seasoning, so I didn’t add much.  In fact, I didn’t use one grain of salt– the sausage and grana padano cheese added enough.  Test your sauce as you go, add seasonings and salt as you see fit.  I also didn’t have white wine on hand, but would have added a glug or two if I did.  Even my freezer wine stock was empty.  As an aside, you can freeze leftover wine in ice cube trays and add them to sauces as you need them.  Slick, huh?  For the pasta, you can use dry pappardelle, or if you want that silkiness of fresh pasta, use this recipe.  It’ll be more time-consuming, but the texture is amazing.  If you make it fresh, note that you’ll need to cut the pasta a bit wider than shown in the recipe.  Hope you give this pasta with fava beans a whirl.

The Recipe:  Pappardelle with Italian Sausage and Fava Beans

(serves 4)

1 pound fresh or dried pappardelle pasta (you can use this recipe for fresh pasta)

1 pound sweet Italian sausage

1 1/2 cups shelled fava beans

1/2 medium white onion, chopped (about 3/4 scant cup)

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 1/2 cups crushed canned tomatoes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

cracked black pepper

grated grana padano or parmesean-reggiano, for garnish

To begin, bring a small saucepan of water to a boil.  Once it is boiling, add the fava beans that have been shelled.  Boil for 1 1/2  to  2 minutes.  Remove from heat, drain, and immerse the beans into an ice bath (a bowl of cold water with ice in it).  Let cool in the water for a couple of minutes.  Next, remove the light green “peel” from the beans using your hands.  The fava beans will be dark green in color.  Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.  Meanwhile, begin making the sauce.  Heat a large skillet and add the Italian sausage to it.  When it is cooked, drain and discard any grease.  Add the onion and garlic to the pan of Italian sausage and continue to cook for a few minutes over medium-high heat until the onions start to become somewhat tender.  Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, and cracked black pepper.  Cook for a few minutes until the flavors have combined a bit and the sauce has thickened.  Add the fava beans and cook a few more minutes.  Taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings.

Add the pasta to the pot of boiling water when the sauce is nearly done.  Cook pasta until al dente.  Reserve a bit of the pasta water, in case you need to loosen your sauce with it.  Drain pasta and combine with the sauce.  Serve sprinkled with generous amounts of grana padano cheese!  Enjoy!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend — do you have any big plans?  I’m looking forward to having some fun with my family and hopefully getting a chance to do some relaxing and a little cooking/baking.  See you next week!

Laurie

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