Tag Archives: pasta

Italian Sausage Penne

Italian Sausage Penne

Gah!!! I can’t believe it’s only 1 week until Christmas. ONE WEEK!

This past week has been a busy one. I spent a few hours at the start of the week with my sons grade 3 class showing them how to make gingerbread cookies. I don’t think there are a lot of people who willingly choose to teach 24  – 8 year olds how to bake, in fact, I believe I might have been the only one, but for some reason I felt this was an opportunity to volunteer and have a lot of fun. I had to laugh at all the grossed out expressions when they smelled the molasses that we needed to add. It definitely wasn’t the most relaxing morning, but I’m glad I stepped up to help out.

There have also been the usual Christmas parties and concerts. And of course, some close to last minute, Christmas shopping. It’s always so busy at this time of year. I’ve been having a hard time focusing on meal planning and creating, so I’ve fallen back on some old recipes. One of those recipes is this Italian Sausage Penne. It’s quick and easy, and best of all, it’s a dish that everyone in my family enjoys.

This recipe has been around in our house for a number of years. It’s actually something my mom used to make when I was a teenager and has been carried over into my house. I’m not sure where the original recipe came from, although my guess would be either a Canadian Living magazine, a Company’s Coming cookbook or from one of my moms several Best of Bridge cookbooks. Those seemed to be the most prominent cookbooks in our house at the time. This recipe takes 30 minutes, it doesn’t have too many ingredients and it’s super simple. Exactly what I’ve needed these past couple of weeks. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed with the fast-approaching holidays, hopefully this recipe will help you out, as well.

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

500g Italian sausage

1 small onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 – 398 mL cans of diced tomatoes

1 tbsp  dried oregano

2 tsp dried basil

375g package of penne (mine was 454g, so I used a bit less than the whole thing)

Italian flat leaf parsley for garnish (optional)

parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then cook the penne according to the package directions. Drain the penne, then place it back in the pot and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over low-medium heat. Add the sausages and cover. Cook for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are browned and cooked throughout. Remove from the pan and set aside until cook enough to handle. Drain most of the drippings, leaving only about 1 tbsp.

Add the onions to the hot skillet and cook for just a few minutes until beginning to sweat, then add the garlic. Continue cooking for about 1 minute before adding in the tomatoes, basil and oregano. Stir together and bring to a simmer over low heat.

While the sauce is simmering, slice the cooled italian sausage into 1/2″ think slices. Add it to the skillet and continue cooking until the sauce is thickened and the sausage is warmed through.

Pour the sauce over the penne and stir. Serve with fresh parsley and parmesan. Serves 4 – 6

 

As always, I’ll be sharing this recipe with all the lovely people at the Fiesta Friday blog Party. This week it’s being co-hosted by Caroline @ Caroline’s Cooking and Linda @ La Petite Paniere. For more recipe inspiration, check them out.

Also, be sure to follow my Pinterest page. I’ve been pinning holiday recipes like a mad women. There’s just so many things I want to try to make. Cheers!

 

 

 

 

Crab and shrimp mac n’ cheese

 

Crab and shrimp mac n' cheese

The kids are back in school! Whoot whoot! Errr…I mean I’m so sad to see them go 😉

The day before the kids went back to school, we had an impromptu pool party at my father-in-laws house. Impromptu, in that we planned it all the evening before, after fishing for an invitation and promising to bring dinner 🙂 As it turned out, the whole family was able to make it and it turned into a great end of summer/back to school celebration.

My contribution to the event was a crab and shrimp mac n’ cheese. It was a recipe that I had tried making back in the winter, but hadn’t had a chance to perfect or take proper pictures of. Ordinarily, Mac n’cheese wouldn’t be my go-to dish on a hot summer day, but in this case there is a perfectly reasonable explanation. A few days before our last minute get-together, I received a text message from my sister-in-law with a special request:

mac n cheese text

 

Being a devoted mac n’ cheese lover, I completely understood her out-of-nowhere desire to have mac n’ cheese. I did, however, take exception with the blue cheese and kale. Firstly, blue cheese has never been my favourite. I think it’s one of those things that you either love or you hate. I’ve tried it many times and, when it comes to blue cheese, I’m definitely a hater. Secondly, I figure if you’re committed to eating mac n’ cheese, you may as well make it as rich, creamy, deliciously unhealthy as you like. Save the kale for the next day in case you feel a little guilty.

To honour my sister-in-laws request, here is my recipe for crab and shrimp mac n’ cheese. I hope you enjoy it as much as she did 🙂

2 tbsp butter

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 Cup onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tbsp cooking sherry

1 Cup chicken stock

8 oz cream cheese, cut into cubes

1/2 Cup asiago cheese, divided

250g crab meat

250g shrimp

1/2 Cup green onions, sliced

375g macaroni noodles

1 Cup sliced almonds, slightly toasted

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the noodles and cook according to package directions, until they are al dente. Strain and set aside.

In a saucepan, heat the butter and olive oil together. Add the onions and garlic and saute for a few minutes until just beginning to sweat. Stir in the sherry, allowing a bit of it to cook off, then add in the chicken stock. Bring the stock up to a simmer and begin adding in the cream cheese. Stir or whisk until it’s melted into the sauce and no lumps remain. Next, add 1/4 Cup of the Asiago cheese. Stir until it’s melted into sauce. Finish the sauce by adding in the crab and shrimp and cook until just heated through.

Pour the sauce over the macaroni. Add the green onions and stir gently, then pour the pasta into a 9″x13″ baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining Asiago cheese, followed by the almonds.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the dish in the oven to bake for about 10 minutes until the cheese topping has melted and the almonds have toasted.

 

 

 

 

Spaghetti and (Healthier) Meatballs

 Spaghetti and Meatballs

Who doesn’t love spaghetti and meatballs? It’s delicious, kid-friendly and it’s the ultimate comfort food. It’s definitely a favourite at our house. The recipe I usually make is one that I got from my mom, who got it from her friend, who got it from her grandmother many, many, many years ago. It’s one of the best spaghetti and meatball dishes I’ve ever had, so I’ve never really played around with the recipe. Why mess with a great thing, right? Last week, however, I felt like playing around with it just a little. I wanted to see if I could make a healthier, yet equally delicious meatball to throw in the sauce. Usually I use a combination of ground pork and ground beef, but to lighten it up, I chose to use ground turkey. I also added some chopped spinach to sneak some extra veggies into the kids. The experiment was a success. The kids ate the meatballs, spinach and all, and my husband actually said he preferred this verion to the original. So here it is, my updated, slightly healthier version of spaghetti and meatballs. I hope you’ll enjoy it, too!

Meatballs:

1 Lbs ground turkey

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 Cup grated parmesan cheese

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 Cup fresh spinach, finely chopped

1/4 Cup fresh Italian flat leaf parsley

1/4 Cup bread crumbs

salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients. Mix well and form into 1″ meatballs. Set aside.

Sauce:

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 lbs Italian sausage

1 Cup onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 Cup red wine

2 tbsp brown sugar

28 oz crushed tomatoes

1 tsp oregano

1 tbsp basil

3 bay leaves

2 tbsp fresh italian flat leaf parsley

salt and pepper to taste

1 box of your favourite spaghetti

Cut the Italian sausage into 1″ pieces. Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the sausage, onions and garlic and saute until the sausage is browned. Add the red wine. Then stir in the brown sugar, tomatoes, oregano, basil and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer. Add the meatballs to the sauce and continue simmering over low heat for 1 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meatballs are cooked through.

Prepare spaghetti according to the package. Serve the meatballs and sauce over the spaghetti and top with fresh parsley. Serves 6.

 

 

 

 

 

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