Spicy Pasta with Sausage

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Food photography is not my field. Despite the semi-boring photo above, this pasta had amazing flavor. Follow info below for a less-spicy version, as I will next time I make the dish for my pale-skinned Midwestern family.

1lb chorizo sausage**, halved lengthwise and sliced thin
1 onion, chopped fine
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 C chicken broth
1-10oz can Ro-Tel tomatoes**
1/2 C heavy cream
12 oz penne pasta
salt and pepper
2 C shredded pepper jack cheese

1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and preheat broiler. On stovetop cook sausage and onion in a large oven-safe skillet (I used my Le Creuset dutch oven) until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2. Stir in broth, tomatoes, cream, pasta, 1/2 t salt and 1/2 t pepper and bring to boil. Cover pan and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring frequently, until pasta is tender, about 15 minutes.

3. Off heat, uncover pan and stir in 1/2 C cheese. Top with remaining cheese and broil until cheese is melted and spotty brown, about 3 minutes. Serve.

**If you want a less-spicy dish or can’t find Ro-Tel tomatoes, substitute 1 1/4 cups canned diced tomatoes. Andouille, linguine or kielbasa sausage can be substituted for the chorizo.

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Pork Shoulder Ragu

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I tried this recipe after a recommendation from our friends Lindsey and Bethany. It’s a good one! Getting it in the oven on time was my biggest challenge, but after that, it’s SO SO simple. Great flavor & hard to mess up, this one’s a winner.

2 to 2 1/2-pound boneless pork shoulder roast
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small pat butter
1 large can whole tomatoes, with juice
1 cup red wine
5 sprigs fresh thyme
5 sprigs fresh oregano
Small handful of fennel seeds
1 tablespoon hot sauce, for smokiness (I used Trader Joe’s Hot Chili Sauce)
Pappardelle
Freshly grated Parmesean

Preheat oven to 325°F. Liberally salt and pepper the pork roast. Add olive oil and butter to large Dutch oven and heat over medium-high until butter melts, but does not burn. Add pork roast to pan and brown on all sides, about 8-10 minutes in all.

Add the onion and garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, wine, thyme, oregano, fennel, and hot sauce and bring to a boil. Cover, and put in oven. Braise for 3-4 hours, turning every hour or so. Add more liquid (water, wine, or tomato sauce) if needed. (The liquid should come to about 1/3 of the way up the pork.) Meat is done when it’s practically falling apart. Put on a cutting board and pull it apart with two forks, then add back to pot and stir. Cook 1 to 2 pounds pasta according to package directions. When it’s is ready, put into individual bowls and top with ragu and lots of Parm.

**I try to always include the recipe as its creator intended, and then share my own changes below. I used sriracha for the hot sauce (and estimated rather than measured), and replaced pappardelle with egg noodles. No fresh herbs, used dried instead. Other thoughts are recorded at www.tredways.org.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

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This recipe provides a great baseline for a delicious broccoli cheese soup to share among friends. Suggestions on the Allrecipes.com page included increasing the broccoli and the cheese, and using half and half instead of milk. Mess with the ingredients on your own to come up with a combo that suits you!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 (16 ounce) package frozen chopped broccoli
  • 4 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 1 (1 pound) loaf processed cheese food, cubed
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup water

Directions

  1. In a stockpot, melt butter over medium heat. Cook onion in butter until softened. Stir in broccoli, and cover with chicken broth. Simmer until broccoli is tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Reduce heat, and stir in cheese cubes until melted. Mix in milk and garlic powder.
  3. In a small bowl, stir cornstarch into water until dissolved. Stir into soup; cook, stirring frequently, until thick.

 

**My alterations: 2 T butter + olive oil for softening the onions, then add a handful of chopped carrots in and some garlic. Chop up about 30oz broccoli florets keeping in mind they will decrease significantly in size while cooking. Use 1 pound Velveeta + grated sharp white cheddar. Skip cornstarch in favor of 1/4 C Wondera (flour) for thickening.

Chicken in Coconut Milk with Lemongrass

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Another recipe in the Koselig Cooking series, this is a good one if you’re a fan of Thai flavors. 

Serves 4 to 6

1 whole roasting chicken (3 to 4 pounds)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole star anise
1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro stems
juice of one lemon + zest, discard rind
1 stalk lemongrass, 5 inches of white part only, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
6 to 8 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 (14- to 16-ounce) can coconut milk
3 cups torn greens (spinach, kale, chard, mizuna, etc.)
2 green onions, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
Chopped cilantro, to garnish
Cooked rice, to serve

Pat the chicken dry and sprinkle it liberally with salt and pepper. Put the chicken, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, or if you’re going to cook it right away, set it aside while you prepare remaining ingredients.

When ready to bake the chicken, preheat the oven to 375°F.

Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat, then add the oil. Put in the chicken, breast-side up, and let it sizzle for about 30 seconds. Carefully flip the bird and crisp the other side for another 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat, put the chicken on a plate, and pour off the fat in the pot.

Transfer the chicken back into the pot, breast-side up, and add the cinnamon stick, star anise, chopped cilantro stems, lemon, lemongrass, garlic, and coconut milk. Cook, uncovered, in the preheated oven for 60 to 90 minutes (depending on size). Spoon the sauce over the top of the bird to baste every 20 minutes or so. The chicken is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thigh reads 165°F.

Remove chicken from the pot and put it on a plate. Pull out and discard the cinnamon stick and star anise. Put the pot with the sauce back on the stovetop over medium heat, add the spinach and stir until just wilted, about 10 seconds.

Carve the chicken and serve each piece over rice with sauce spooned over the top. Garnish with chopped scallions and cilantro leaves.

One Pot Pasta Bolognese

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This recipe is a keeper (thanks, Morgan at Host the Toast!) and is particularly well-suited to hosting a larger gathering of friends or family. Or, if you’re like my family of three, it will serve leftovers for a few days afterwards. If you’re replacing the tagliatelle noodles with fettucine—heads up—you might add a few minutes to your cooking time. The al dente was a step or two shy of al dente-ness, though that meant the reheating process the next day yielded a perfect noodle.

PREP TIME: 10 mins, COOK TIME: 40 mins, TOTAL TIME: 50 mins

Serves: 6 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes, plus more to taste
  • 1.5 lb ground chuck
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cups reduced sodium chicken stock (or 2 cups chicken stock and 1 cup wine)
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 1 pound tagliatelle or spaghetti
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a dutch oven or large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until lightly crisped. Mix in the onion, celery, and garlic, and season liberally with salt and pepper. Mix in ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes, adding slightly more if you prefer more heat in your sauce. Cook together until the onion has softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add in the ground chuck. Cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, for 5 minutes or until browned all over. Once browned, stir in the tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, chicken stock, and thyme.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 5 minutes. Then, uncover, remove the thyme sprigs, stir the pasta in, and continue to simmer for 15 minutes or until the pasta is cooked through and the sauce has thickened, stirring occasionally.
  4. Stir in the milk, parmesan cheese, and shredded basil, and adjust the seasonings to taste. Serve with additional basil, to garnish.

Oktoberfest Stoup

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My mom made this recipe for our Christmas lunch and oh goodness does it make a delicious soup (or “stoup” as Rachael Ray terms her recipes that are somewhere between a stew and a soup). I found the recipe in the chef’s 30-minute Get Real Meals book.

2 TB vegetable oil
2 TB butter, cut into pats
3 knockwursts, diced into 1-inch cubes
3 bratwursts, diced into 1-inch cubes
1 red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
2 lb red cabbage, quartered and shredded
1 t caraway seeds
salt & pepper
1 12oz bottle dark beer
1 qt veal or chicken stock
2 C tomato sauce
2 TB Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
3 TB finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 Red or Golden Delicious apples, peeled and diced
juice of 1/2 lemon

Heat a big soup pot over med-high heat. Add 1 TB of vegetable oil and half the butter. When the butter melts into the oil, add the cubed worsts and brown them on all sides, 5 minutes. Remove the browned sausages and add the remaining tablespoon each of oil and butter. When the butter melts into the oil, add the onion and cook for 2 minutes. Add the cabbage and caraway, season with salt and pepper, and stir. Cook the cabbage for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the beer and cook down 1 minute. Add the stock, tomato sauce, Worcestershire, and bay leaf and stir to combine. Add the wurst back to the pot. Cover the pot and bring the stoup up to a boil, 2 or 3 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer for 5-10 minutes longer, until the cabbage is tender. Remove the bay leaf. Combine the parsley, apple, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Ladle the stoup into shallow bowls and top with generous spoonfuls of the flavored apples to stir into the stoup as you eat it.

**We used Emeril’s Chicken & Apple Sausage in place of the wursts simply because it’s what we had on hand. In retrospect, we should have added these fully cooked sausages at the end of cooking. Also, it took longer than 10 minutes to produce tender cabbage. Nonetheless, the stoup made for an unusual and delicious dinner!