Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Spicy Twisty Pasta
Well, I finally did it. Last night, I sat down with my cookbooks, firmly resolved to kick some new life into my way-too-comfortable menu, and I re-discovered one of my food soul-mates: Nigella Lawson. So, I am pretty darn excited to cook my way through this week so I can post all of my newly-discovered favorites from my perennial favorite Nigella.
BUT, before we get to that, I am posting one of my menu staples. To me, it's the perfect dinner: adaptable to the seasons, number of diners, level of fanciness, and most importantly, my moods. It's like the books I used to read as a kid, where I got to pick the ending I wanted. The basic recipe is just pasta, meat, veggies and cheese. But what possibilities! What kind of pasta are you in the mood for(or do you have in your pantry)? What meat sounds good? Sausage, chicken, bacon.... What veggies are in season? Asparagus and mushrooms? Zucchini and tomatoes? How strong do you like your cheese flavor? Some grated parmesan sound good or do you want some feta or blue cheese? Or wanna just throw in some cubes of mozzarella for lots of ooey gooeyness? Here's how I did it recently:
Spicy Twisty Pasta
1 lb twisty pasta(no I can't remember the name)
1 lb spicy bulk sausage
6 big mushrooms
handful of asparagus
1/2 bag frozen petite peas
fresh grated parmesan(No, don't even think about reaching for that can of parmesan dandruff on your cupboard shelf!)
Drop pasta in a pot of boiling salted water. Heat olive oil in a large hot skillet. Add in sausage, mushrooms and asparagus(cut into chunks). Cook until sausage is brown, making sure to break it down into chunks while it's cooking. Add peas to the pasta the last few minutes it's boiling. Add minced garlic to the meat and veggies, to taste. When pasta is done, drain and add to meat in skillet. Season with salt and pepper or Tony's Creole Seasoning and drizzle some more olive oil over. Top with fresh parmesan. The cool thing is the spicy sausage, olive oil and parmesan combine to make this incredible sauce for the pasta. If you're feeding a crowd, throw in lots of veggies and meat. Not so much? Use them to just dress the pasta, but plan on enjoying yummy leftovers, 'cause it reheats really well.