Sunday, December 2, 2007

This Week's Recipe

I don't know if I mentioned this before, and I don't care to review my writings to see if I did, but I try to write a new recipe every week. For the most part, they're mainly one-pot dishes that I can make on Sunday, then I store them in disposable aluminum pans and scoop them out for lunch every day. I think I'm in love with the doozy I came up with this weekend.

Yesterday, we had a little blizzard and ice storm, so I got in the mood for a warm hearty dish. On one of my first nights in Chicago, my aunt Janice made this sausage pasta dish that I LOVED so much. My aunt Janice is skinny; I consider her the best skinny cook I've ever met, and I marvel that she keeps whole milk and butter in her fridge. How?

As for the pasta, I just remember good chunks of sausage, the taste of red pepper flake & greens, maybe parsley. I got to thinking about it, and decided to try and recreate it using light ingredients. Today I braved the weather (cold rain, washing the snow and ice away) for all the tasty treats I'd need. This is the spicy, savory result:

Sausage and White Bean Pasta
(Janice's didn't have beans; I just love fiber.)

1 lb. (package) Whole Wheat Textured Pasta - Rotini, Bowtie, etc.
1.5 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 Yellow Onion, chopped
1 Red Bell Pepper, sliced in thin strips
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 package Italian Style Chicken Sausage, sliced thinly on bias
1 head Green Kale, rinsed, dried and coarsely chopped
1 head Red Kale, rinsed, dried and coarsely chopped
1 can Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained
1-2 cups Chicken Broth
Red Pepper Flakes, to taste
2 Tbsp Fresh Sage, chopped
Grated Parmesan Cheese

In a large pot, cook pasta until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking. Let stand in sink.

Return the pot to the burner and reduce heat to medium. Add oil to pan, then saute onions and red pepper until golden and translucent. Add chopped garlic and cook for 1 minute. Toss in sausage and cook until browned and warmed through. Toss in red pepper flakes and sage; stir and cook for 1 minute. Add beans and 1 cup of chicken broth.

The kale must be added in batches, since it's so big. Add enough kale to reach the rim of the pot. Cover and let simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until kale is tender and can be stirred into sauce. Add remaining kale, cover and simmer until tender, as above. Add more stock as neccessary to steam greens. Stir to combine.

Add the pasta back to the pot. Toss with all the ingredients and heat through. Add salt and pepper to taste; served topped with grated parmesan cheese.

If you can't find kale, use another dark & hearty green, such as collard greens. Just make sure you rinse the sand from the leaves first. You can use all green kale, too; I just used both red and green because they were the same price and they looked pretty. This is a pretty cheap dish, too. The one splurge I guess is the chicken sausage - 'round here it's $4-$6, but it's worth it. Otherwise, the greens and onions and peppers are like $10 for the lot. Plus, this stuff will last forever because it's so pumped up with veggies.

So there's that,



mkieper said...

I was really excited to read this recipe...and then I saw Green and Red Kale. Now...I'm not sure if I was turned off by the thought of eating it...or trying to find it locally.

Laura said...

You can use collard greens or spinach - it's really good, so don't be scared. I doesn't really have a taste to it, it just adds body and texture and vitamins. I'm sure Wal-Mart has something comparable. They have a great greens selection.