Tuesday Night Fun Cooking! Italian pasta edition
My apologies for the delay in posting about our most recent Tuesday Night Fun Cooking! adventures. There was a bit of a technical glitch accessing photos. My computer has a new OS, which required replacing iPhoto (which, let's face it, sucked) with the new Photos app (seems to be an improvement) so for a few days there I couldn't access any photos except a few I have been playing with in Adobe Lightroom; since I hadn't imported anything to LR from my phone, that did me no good. I know all that's confusing, but it doesn't matter. The important thing is, I finally had a few minutes to install Photos so now I can get to all the pictures I have on my phone and share them with all y'all!
Tuesday seems like such a long time ago. What did we eat again? Oh yes, that's right. Pasta! A couple of months ago I checked out Cooking From the Farmers Market from the library in the hopes that it would provide me with oodles of inspiration and dinner ideas. Truthfully, it was kind of a disappointment. Out of more than 200 pages, there are maybe 3 recipes in there I would want to try. Everything else either didn't appeal or was something I already do off the top of my head. But then, I've been cooking for a long time, so if you're new to it or need ideas for in-season vegetables, this book is probably worth a look.
The one recipe I made a note of to try is called "Orichette with kale, sausage and chickpeas." Orichette means "little ears" in Italian, and that's what the noodles look like. I bought orichette specifically for this meal, but I think you could use any pasta you have on hand; I could see this working particularly well with penne, for example.
First there was chopping to do. When my parents were here last month, my dad brought a knife along he thought they would be able to handle more easily than our large chef's knife. The one he brought is sharp and handles like a chef's knife, but it's got a shorter blade to it's easier to manage. He left it here; I think that was accidentally-on-purpose! We finally had a chance to try it out on Tuesday, when both kids had some practice mincing garlic.
|Daniel got to practice smashing it first. That was fun.|
|This took a little while, but she did just fine.|
|This sums up their feelings on kale, both preparing and eating it.|
Once all the ingredients were ready, everything went together fairly quickly. Despite their protests about the kale, the kids declared this dish delicious and scarfed it down. They'll eat anything with pasta and sausage, though!
|It tasted better than it looks in this picture, I promise.|
- 1 lb. orichette or other pasta
- 2 bunches kale, washed and shredded with tough stems removed
- 2 tsp. minced garlic
- 2 T. olive oil
- 1 tsp. red pepper flakes or paprika (we used the latter)
- 3/4 lb. Italian-style sausage (or whatever kind you prefer), sliced into 1/2" pieces
- 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas
- 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- salt as needed
- shredded parmesan cheese for serving
- Cook the pasta according to instructions on the package. Save about one cup of the cooking liquid when you drain them after cooking.
- While the noodles are cooking, heat the olive oil on medium low heat in a large saucepan. Toast the garlic and pepper in the oil for about a minute.
- Add the kale and cook until the kale wilts, 1-2 minutes.
- Add the sausage, chickpeas and broth, stir, cover and cook until the sausage is done through and there is no pink in the middle, 5-10 minutes depending on how big those pieces are.
- Stir in the pasta along with some of the reserved liquid if it looks too dry. Heat through for a couple minutes.
- Serve with shredded Parmesan and enjoy!
Pros: Delicious. Easy. Comes together in a half hour. Includes carbs, protein and lots of greens, so this is a balanced dish. The kids could do most of the steps independently. I did most of the stove top tasks like handling the big pot of cooked noodles and stirring the other ingredients in the large saucepan.
Cons: Are there any? The only drawback in terms of logistics of cooking with kids is that I like when we have something to stick in the oven for a half hour (like a casserole or roasted chicken pieces or something) so I have a little time to clean up before we reconvene to eat. The fact that this pasta dish can be prepared quickly means it's good for when we don't have an early start time making dinner.
Next time: I don't know if I would change anything about this recipe, to be honest! You could easily substitute meatless sausage if you want (having spent Easter weekend with some vegetarians, this was on my mind).