Sausage, Escarole and Tomato Pasta

February 23, 2022

Guys, this is one of the best dinners I have made in a long time. I am so happy to share it with you all!

The idea for this dinner began when I read Alexandra Cook’s post on how much she loves sautéed escarole as a winter side. She makes the point that by February, we have roasted so many veggies that cooked greens hit the spot and are so easy. When I grabbed a few heads of escarole at the store, I got to thinking. Wouldn’t they be delicious in soups or pastas? The answer is yes and yes.

I looked around at other recipes online, and one of them was very similar to a simple pasta dish our family loves making combining these ingredients.

We usually make ours with broccoli or spinach (fresh or frozen) and use any pasta shape. I merged ours with one I found on Epicurious. And the result was amazing. I give all the credit to that glorious trio of shallots, garlic and wine cooked together to give such a delicious base. And the pasta water helps create the most luxurious sauce. Trust me, you are going to want to try it. And then make it again because it is sooo yummy.

The acid from the wine, the slight bitterness from the escarole, the sweetness of the tomatoes and the heat from the sausage, the comforting pasta, all covered in the delicious sauce is so well balanced. And the crispy fried rosemary on top is genius. I can’t stop thinking about how many other dishes I can use it on.

Just all around something I would drive to a restaurant far away to order again and again.

This one will be on heavy rotation because it is so easy, and so satisfying. Hope you get to try it soon too!

Happy eating, xoxo Katie

Sausage, Escarole and Tomato Pasta

1 pound tubular pasta like paccheri or rigatoni

2 sprigs Rosemary

1/3 cup olive oil

20 oz. turkey sausage (or any kind you prefer)

2 shallots, finely diced (1/3 cup)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 cups cherry tomatoes

2 heads (about 8 cups) escarole, torn into pieces

1/2 cup parmesan plus more for serving

Directions:

Bring pot of salted water to boil for pasta. You will need some of the pasta water for the sauce so be sure to reserve.

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium high heat. Fry rosemary, turning until crisp about 2 minutes. Transfer to paper towel to drain.

Add sausage to the same pot and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon or fork and stirring occasionally, until browned and cooked through about 8 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate. While sausage cooks, start boiling pasta, setting timer for 3 minutes less than the packages cooking time.

Be sure there is still enough oil in pot, if not add more to equal about 1 T. Add shallots to pot and let cook for 2-3 minutes to soften, then add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add cherry tomatoes and let cook for a minute before adding wine. Scrap up the bottom bits in the pan and let simmer for 2-3 minutes.

With a slotted spoon or spider, transfer pasta to pot with tomatoes, then add escarole and 1 cup pasta liquid. Cook, tossing until escarole is wilted, pasta is al dente and sauce is thickened, about 4 minutes. Add another 1/4 cup pasta cooking liquid then gradually add 1/2 cup cheese, tossing until melted into a glossy sauce. Thin with more pasta water if desired, season with pepper and more salt if needed (you probably won’t if your pasta water is salted.) Add sausage back into pasta and stir to combine.

Divide pasta in bowls, and crumble rosemary on top and sprinkle with more parmesean cheese.

 

 

 

 

Herby, Brothy Beans with Pesto + Burrata

February 11, 2022

For those of you who know and love the blog/cookbook/adorable person behind Dinner A Lovestory, you will  probably love this recipe which comes from her newest cookbook, Weekday Vegetarians.

I saw her post a video of this recipe by showing a big pot of beans, which got my attention because she put three things in a pot then said ‘when dinner cooks hands free in under an hour’ or something approximating that. Always a good sell to a busy mom.

She spooned the contents into a bowl, put some pesto on top and THEN put some burrata and a drizzle of olive oil, at which point I had to try this deliciousness somehow, someway.

The result? Maybe one of the best things I have eaten all year. It is so bright, creamy, healthy, stick-to-your-ribs comforting. And so easy. The bright pesto is like sunshine, the warm broth is so comforting, and the creamy burrata melting a little in the heat of the broth – it’s all perfection.

You may have a little trouble finding butter beans or big lima beans, but you can get them on Amazon or find them in a specialty food shop (I actually found canned butter beans at Eataly in the Prudential Center in Boston but it is just as easy and delicious to buy the dried ones online or substitute with any northern white bean).

It is funny to say that such a humble dish like beans is the best thing I’ve eaten, but its true. And if you are like me you are starting to think about easy, meatless meals during lent. (Ok full confession I always feel like the challenge to eat meat only once a day on not on Fridays is a chance to eat all the delicious vegetarian foods which I know is not the point but I will still try to offer it up). Good thing this recipe comes from a book chock full of great vegetarian ideas. Even if my 8-year-old declared that it ‘had too many vegetables’.

The real flavor comes from the broth with its simple onion and thyme. I didn’t even chopped the onion as she suggests in her cookbook I just let it simmer. It was the best potlikker I have had in a while.

And I can’t recommend a bit of Naan bread or french crusty bread enough to dip into all this goodness. If you want to add chili oil or red pepper flakes no one would stop you.

You may want to go ahead and buy the big bag at Amazon so you can make this over and over again. It’s so so good.
Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

Herby, Brothy Beans with Pesto and Burrata

Ingredients:

16 ounces dried or canned lima beans, or broad beans

1/2 medium yellow onion roughly chopped

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling

1 dried bay leaf

Leaves from 8 fresh thyme leaves

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (optional)

Store bought pesto for serving

Fresh Burrata or Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

If you are using dried beans: place the beans in a large pot, cover with water by about 2 inches, and let them sit for at least 6 hours and up to overnight, 8-10 hours. Check them and be sure they stay slightly submerged.

Add more water to cover the beans by 1 1/2 inches and place on the stove top. Stir in the onion, salt, olive oil and bay leaf. Simmer uncovered, until tender, about 40 minutes, scraping off any foam as they cook.

If you are using canned beans: put beans in the pot and cover the beans with water by 1 1/2 inches and place on the stovetop. Stir in the onion, salt, olive oil and bay leaf. Simmer uncovered, until tender, about 10-15 minutes, scraping off any foam as they cook.

Once tender do not drain the beans. Scoop them into a small serving bowl with a little of the bean broth. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon if using, pesto and burrata or parm.

Adapted from the cookbook Weekday Vegetarians by Jenny Rosenstrach 

 

Pavlova Layer Cake with Raspberry Sauce

February 4, 2022

There is so much to love about this Layered Pavlova Cake! It tastes like a macaron cookie grew extra large and gave you a hug, but kept it’s signature fluffy merengue texture and intense filling flavor. The raspberry sauce and ice cream in the middle is such a textural delight – creamy, crunchy, gooey, smooth and sweet. I just served this for a Galentine’s/Birthday party with friends last night and it was so good. It is light yet hits the sweet spot perfectly.

It also happens to be really easy to make. It takes around 10 minutes of prep and then it cooks for a while (see directions).   If you love someone who can’t abide gluten this is for you! If you love someone who doesn’t do well with dairy, we ate ours with vanilla coconut milk ice cream and it was amazing.

You start by beating 8 egg whites + 1/4 teaspoon salt in a stand mixer with the whisk setting. It takes 5-8 minutes, and your oven should be warming up during that time. (You put it in a 350 degree oven then immediately turn it down to 225. It is low and slow for cakes). Then you slowly add 2 cups of sugar while it is still beating. Then you gently fold in 2 teaspoons vanilla, 2 teaspoons of white vinegar (or cream of tarter – the egg whites need acid to create stiff peaks) and 4 teaspoons cornstarch.

You can add a drop of food coloring for a light pink color, but white is so pretty too. Then you make 2 circles on parchment paper using a 8-9 inch cake round pan. Turn over the paper so the pencil doesn’t get onto the cake. Then you spread the mixture into the two circles.

You bake them for 50-70 minutes (see below) until they are hard and then I let mine rest in the oven for another hour, but you only need to let them rest until they are cool.

While they are cooling, you can make the raspberry sauce. I use Ina Garten’s recipe – it is so easy just fresh raspberries, sugar, water, all cooked together for a few minutes. Then that mixture is blended with a jar of raspberry jam and raspberry liquor. The result is such an intense raspberry flavor, you will be so in love when you taste it and you will want to put it on everything.

Assembling the cake is so easy – just layer pavlova, ice cream, then raspberry sauce…

Then add the second pavlova on top, cover with raspberries and sprinkle with powdered sugar. You can add the rest of the sauce on top if you want but it is so pretty and good with just raspberries.

So add some extra eggs and raspberries to your grocery list and consider your Valentine’s Desert covered. You will float away on a cloud of bliss, I promise.


Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

Pavlova Layered Cake with Raspberry Sauce

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE PAVLOVA

  • 8 (about 260 g) egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.5 g) salt
  • 2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
  • 4 teaspoons (10 g) cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons (5 g) cream of tartar, OR 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons (8.4 g) vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • a couple drops of food coloring (optional), I used one drop of red but pink is better to get a nice pink color. I have also made this without any food coloring, and the white is so pretty too so it is totally optional. 
  • NOTE: This recipe makes TWO pavlovas. You can split the recipe in half for one layer.

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. (NOTE: you will reduce this temperature later). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Trace a circle on each, using an 8-inch or 9-inch round cake pan as your guide. Flip the parchment paper over, so the pencil doesn’t get on the pavlova. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and salt on medium-high speed until soft peaks begin to form. Note: the eggs will foam first and then come together to create soft, white peaks. Be patient. This will take a few minutes.

Once the soft peaks have formed, gradually (very gradually), add the sugar (about one tablespoon at a time).

After the sugar is incorporated and stiff peaks have formed, stop the mixer and fold in the cornstarch, cream of tartar (or vinegar), vanilla bean paste, and food coloring (if using).

Divide the meringue in half and pour one half onto each of the parchment sheets with circles on them. Gently spread the meringue to the edge of the circle you drew, making sure the top is fairly level. The edges don’t need to be perfectly round or even. In fact, the more rustic and left alone, the better.

Place the pavlovas in your oven. If you have two ovens, you can place one baking sheet in each. If you have one oven, you can place both baking sheets in at once, on two different racks, making sure to switch the baking sheets halfway through baking.

When you place the pavlova in the oven, immediately reduce the temperature to 225 degrees F.

TWO OVENS: If you are using two ovens with one pavlova in each, your bake time will be about 50 to 60 minutes. 

ONE OVEN: If you are using one oven with two pavlovas, your bake time will be closer to 70 to 90 minutes.

You are looking for the meringue to harden, but not get too brown or crack too much around the edges.

Once the pavlova is done baking, turn the oven off and allow the pavlova to cool completely in the oven.

 

FOR THE RASPBERRY SAUCE:

1 half-pint package fresh raspberries

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup water

1 cup (12 ounces) seedless raspberry jam

1 tablespoon Framboise liqueur (I used a local raspberry liqueur)

DIRECTIONS

Place the package of raspberries, the granulated sugar, and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 4 minutes. Pour the cooked raspberries, the jam, and Framboise into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until smooth. Chill.

ASSEMBLY

Place one pavlova layer on a cake stand or plate. Cover with a pint of ice cream and half of the raspberry mixture and then fresh berries. Cover with second pavlova and garnish with fresh raspberries and powdered sugar. (You could also top with more ice cream and the rest of the raspberry sauce if desired but the ratio was lovely of meringue to ice cream and sauce with it just in the middle.)

Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.

Recipe adapted from Cake by Courtney

One-Pot Chicken and Artichoke Cavatappi

January 26, 2022

What could be better on a cold winter night then lighting a fire, turning up the music and making a one-pot pasta dish?

I love artichokes, and will use any excuse to use them in a dish. I actually almost always have some open in my fridge to use in omelets, salads, sandwiches (they are so yummy on egg sandwiches with grainy mustard). I also have a family to feed where half of them want pasta at every meal, and the other half wants meat. Voila! Everyone is happy with this dish.

The first step is to brown the artichokes. This brings out there flavor and the cartelized color is so pretty.

Then you remove them from the pan (I doubled this recipe, so I used a heavy-bottomed pot for this recipe).

You add oil to the pan, season chicken with garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper, and brown on both sides. Remove the chicken from the pan and sauté onions, then add garlic and oregano. Then add tomatoes and broccoli and season with salt and pepper. Finally add lemon juice and chicken broth (which adds a lot of flavor but you could use water in a pinch) and the pasta, cover and let cook for 10 minutes. Then add the chicken back in and you’re done. If there is too much liquid you can cook it off, and if the pasta seems al dente you can add a little more broth and let it cook for a few minutes. 

Serve with plenty of shaved parmesan cheese on top, and crusty bread. This is a great dish for a busy weeknight but it’s also nice enough for company. The leftovers keep very well and get better the next day. The lemon, garlic and oregano add lots of flavor. I also added red pepper flakes to mine. Crumbled feta or olives on top would also be delicious.

The best part is this dish is pretty healthy, especially if you use whole wheat pasta (which my kids cannot abide so I didn’t.)

Hope this dinner warms up your insides and is an easy meal to add to your dinner rotation! It is delicious and easy.

Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

One-Pot Chicken and Artichoke Cavatappi

Serves 4  (I doubled this recipe) 

INGREDIENTS

  • Olive oil
  • 15-ounce can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1pound chicken tenders
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1-2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 small onion chopped, about 1 cup
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic, about 5 cloves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, divided
  • 3 ounces julienne-cut sun-dried tomatoes
  • 3 cups broccoli, fresh or frozen (you can use kale or spinach instead)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, about 1/2 lemon, plus more to taste
  • 2.5 cups chicken broth
  • 8 ounces cavatappi, regular or whole wheat (you can use penne or other shape)
  • 2 ounces shaved parmesan, (optional)

Directions: 

Heat a large non-stick skillet with high sides (or a large pot if you are doubling the recipe) over medium heat.

Heat 1 T. olive oil. Working in two batches, add artichokes and char until dark golden—3 to 4 minutes. Remove to a plate.

Season chicken with 1 teaspoon each garlic powder, onion powder and salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

Heat another 1 T. olive oil in pan, add chicken and cook 5 minutes, turning half way through cooking. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Heat an additional 1 T. olive oil, then add onions, garlic, and 2 teaspoons oregano. Cook, stirring, until onions are softened and golden, 4 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes and broccoli, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Add 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 2 1/4 cups of chicken broth. Stir in cavatappi, cover and cook for 10 minutes.

Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces.

Remove cover, stir in chicken and artichokes. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 5 more minutes or until pasta is al dente and chicken is reheated. Remove cover and cook off any excess liquid if necessary. Serve topped with parmesan (if using), remaining oregano, and more salt and black pepper to taste.

Recipe adapted from Skinnytaste.com

Chorizo, Kale & Potato Soup

January 12, 2022

Greetings from the house of Covid surrounded by frozen tundra!

We are going on our second month of the virus slowly going through our family (good times!) and I am so thankful that I got it first so I can play nurse to everyone else. Our 4 year old twins seem to be made of teflon and have yet to get it that we know of, but it does mean for lots of baking, baths and abc puzzles as they quarantine away January.

I don’t know about you, but under duress, comfort food needs to also be easy food. I can finely chop ingredients and slow cook meat all day when everything is smooth sailing, but add another job like nurse to my roster and I need food to be easy. I actually have so many fun recipes to make for this blog this year, but for right now I am relying on one pot, ten ingredients or less dinners. But crusty bread is always a must.

I looked in our fridge and found chorizo and potatoes singing to me, and I whipped up this super simple, 7 ingredient soup, and it totally hit the spot.

It was such an easy lunch to warm up for anyone, and it was great to have a different soup in the rotation. (For other soups we had a lot of recently, see this Chicken Gnocchi Soup, Sausage and White Bean Soup, and this Greek Wedding Soup with lots of lemon. And I recently posted on Instagram about our love of tomato soup – it is in our weekly rotation with lots of grilled cheese.)

There are a lot of variations you can make with this soup, and you can treat this as a clean out the veggie drawer soup – chopped carrots, celery, spinach, zucchini are all great additions, and you can swap out beans or pasta for the potatoes and corn. The best part is the chorizo is so well seasoned that it infuses the soup with flavor.

I loved this simple version, and it warmed me up all week as I entertained preschoolers and tended to sick kids.

I hope your family is staying warm and healthy, and that you get to cook up something simple and delicious to bring everyone together for dinner.

Chorizo, Kale & Potato Soup 

1 med onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

8-10 oz. chorizo, cut in half moons

2 cups potatoes, cubed

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon salt + 1/2 teaspoon pepper (more to taste)

6 cups chicken broth

2 cups kale, sliced

10 oz. corn

Directions:

Heat 2 T oil in heavy pot over med heat. Add onions and cook for 3-5 min until soft. Add garlic and chorizo and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add potatoes and cook for 2 minutes more. Add bay leaf, salt & pepper and broth and bring to a boil. Cook for 15-20 min or until potatoes are tender. Add kale and corn and cook for 5 minutes more. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve warm with crusty bread.

The Best Chocolate Fudge Sauce

December 21, 2021

It doesn’t really feel like Christmas until I start making my mom’s chocolate fudge sauce as gifts for everyone. I love how excited our friends and neighbors get because, well it is like chocolate crack. I make it every year, and every year I congratulate myself on how easy it is to make a huge batch of gifts. It’s also so cute the way the teachers who have one of our kids in class get excited because they know they have chocolate sauce coming at Christmas. 🙂

The reason why it is so beloved is because when it is cold in the fridge (where it needs to be stored) it has a thick, fudge consistency like frosting. But when you heat it up it is liquid chocolate, and it is so good over ice cream. You’re going to want to stock up on Candy Canes too because crushed peppermint on top is the best. Sometimes I get lucky and find the special edition peppermint ice cream but the topping is just as good.

This is by far my most requested recipe and I can’t believe I am just now getting to put it up on the blog.

The best part of making this for gifts? It is only 4 ingredients and it takes 10 minutes.

You start by melting the butter and the chocolate chips together…

Then once that is smooth you add the sugar…

And right after that you add the evaporated milk, bring to a boil, then reduce to low for 8 minutes, stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn on the bottom, and to help the sugar dissolve and the rest of the chocolate chips to melt.

Then you’re ready to let it cool a little, and in 10-20 minutes stir it well, and then pour into glass jars.

PRO TIP: Use a funnel. It makes things so much easier and less messy. 

I have taken notes in my cookbook how to times the recipe by 4 or by 8 which I’ll share below because it makes cooking in bulk so easy.

The Best Chocolate Fudge Sauce

For 1 jar: 

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup butter

2/3 cup sugar

2/3 cup evaporated milk (equal to 1 5 oz. can)

For 4 jars: 

3 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup butter

2 2/3 cup sugar

2 2/3 cup evaporated milk

For 8 jars: 

6 cups semisweet chocolate chips = 3 bags

2 cup butter = 1 pound package

5 1/4 cup sugar

5 1/4 cup evaporated milk = almost 4 cans

Directions: 

In a small heavy saucepan melt the chocolate and butter over medium heat. Add the sugar, gradually stir in the evaporated milk until sugar dissolves. Bring to boiling, reduce heat. Boil gently over low heat for 8 minutes, stirring frequently (watch carefully so it doesn’t burn). Remove from heat, cook slightly. Serve warm over ice cream or cover and chill and store in the fridge.

Original recipe from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.