Saturday, June 9, 2007

And away we go!

So here is the much awaited FIRST ENTRY! (It's not actually first now because of that lovely introduction. But we will pretend so that it doesn't feel bad.)

This is a meal that I come back to time & again. It isn't so much a recipe really, as it is cooking a bunch of stuff & throwing it together with rather yummy results. It's a good weeknight dinner because it's simple but very tasty & you can pretty much add in whatever else you want without screwing it up.

Oh, as a word of warning...I come from a long line of cooks who don't measure things.
I look, I taste, I add. That's all I've got.

Pasta with Sausage & Broccoli

Stuff you need:
1 lb of pasta
2 heads of broccoli
Sausage
grated cheese
fresh parsley
various herbs & spices

A note about the ingredients - to make this dish, I usually use a chicken sausage. Will prefers it and it's a bit lighter than the traditional pork. On this particular occasion, it was a lovely chicken & spinach (so that's what the green bits are!).

We grill pretty much year round, so I took the sausage to the flames. But this works just as well if you throw it in the oven to bake - just keep a close eye that you don't dry it out.

While that's happening, breakdown your broccoli, coarsely chop the parsley and get the water going for the pasta.

DON'T FORGET TO SALT THE WATER!!! In my opinion, no amount of salting the food later will make up for this. Something always seems...off.


Check that sausage! Ohhhh...lovely color...mmmmm...

Do not, however, add oil to the water. While this will keep your pasta from forming a solid land mass, it will also keep your sauce from clinging later on. Stirring the pot until it regains a rolling boil does the same thing with out making things too slippery.

Now, I generally like to cook the broccoli by throwing it in for the pasta's last couple of minutes. But with the picture-taking & all, I got a little distracted. Sooooo...I had to get another pot of water going. :(

Sausage is ready!

This particular sausage is thinner than the traditional italian version - so slicing it into small chunks is easily done. I don't like the pieces too large because I think it should be part of the dish - not THE dish.

Pasta's done too! Drain it & NOW add some olive oil to keep it from sticking together. The olive oil works here only because it is the basis of the "sauce". If I were going to put any other type of sauce on this macaroni, I would use that instead.
Now dump in the sausage, parsley, grated cheese & broccoli. It's almost done! Now, here's where it's more art than science...seasoning. I used salt, pepper, granulated garlic & an italian herb blend (Penzey's!) that contains basil, oregano, marjoram, thyme & rosemary.

Add a little...mix it up. Peer into the pot...taste...add a little more...repeat. Seriously. My only advice here is to go easy because you can always add more seasoning - you can't take it away. Well...you can add more food to the mix. (I've done that! We ate pasta salad for an entire week.)

So here it is! My lovely pasta!
There are sooooo many things you can add to this. I keep it simple because Will prefers it but some ideas are: black olives, sundried tomatoes, red pepper flakes, artichoke hearts, scallions (I do add these if I have them).

You can even substitute something else for the sausage - grilled chicken or shrimp would be just fine - I would imagine you would then have to up your seasoning a bit.

So that’s it! My first (real) entry! I know this is a very simple dish – I feel funny even calling it a recipe. But I think that the focus here is going to be more about sharing ideas about food & this may be an idea you’ve never had before!

1 comment:

Cheryl said...

MMMMMM...this one looks yummy and easy. LOVE broccoli. I've recently discovered out favorite way to eat it is sauteed with a little garlic and olive oil. My days of mushy broccoli are over!!