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July 2018

Canadian Recipes/ Featured

Orecchiette with broccolini and Italian sausage

Orechiette with broccolini and Italian sausage

Upon review of my recent posts, I have come to realize that I have a pasta problem. My last five posts have all been pasta recipes. Pasta is such a crowd-pleaser in our home that it’s my go-to meal for most weekdays. If both my husband and I are working, then I will whip up a pasta dish when I come home from work. If my husband is on days off and I’m working, then he’ll BBQ steaks or kebabs (is it kebabs or kabobs?) with grilled veggies and potatoes. On weekends when I’m off work I do more involved recipes, such as something Vietnamese or roast beef or roasted chicken or I experiment with new recipes for content on this blog.

Since we are eating so much pasta, I like trying different types of pasta to mix things up a bit. My favourite is the mafalda corta that I mentioned in my bolognese recipe.  Penne and bowtie are okay, but I’m not a fan of spaghetti or linguine. If a recipe calls for a longer strand type of pasta, then my absolute favourite is pappardelle. For this recipe, I decided to try orecchiette because I like the way it sounds and because I found a bag of it at Save-On Foods one day. (I’ve never seen orecchiette at Safeway).  Orechiette comes from the Italian word ‘orecchia’ meaning ‘ear’ and ‘etta’ meaning small because ,well, the pasta is shaped like small ears.

I added broccolini to this recipe because like most moms, I’m trying to get my toddler to eat more vegetables. It didn’t work, by the way. She just picked out the pasta and sausage bits and left all the broccolini on her plate. Oh well, at least I got more vegetables in my diet. Broccolini is similar to broccoli, but it has smaller florets and long thin stalks. It’s almost like a broccoli / asparagus hybrid. It has a sweeter flavour than broccoli, is super high in Vitamin C, and is so versatile in recipes. I’ve sauteed broccolini with beef or chicken in an Asian stirfry before, but this time, I decided to boil them and add them to this pasta. You can find broccolini in the produce aisle of your grocery store, and they are often packaged in a tray and wrapped in plastic, like this:

broccolini

For some added protein and flavour, I used a package of Johnsonville mild Italian sausage. If you aren’t feeding your kid this, I would recommend buying the Johnsonville hot Italian sausage. I think that would add more flavour to it.

And as always, remember to use real Parmesan cheese and grate it yourself!

 

Orechiette with broccolini and Italian sausage

Orechiette with broccolini and Italian sausage

Print Recipe
Serves: 4-6 Cooking Time: 45 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 package of Johnsonville Italian sausages (I bought the mild flavour)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 - 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 500 g bag of orecchiette pasta
  • 1 package of broccolini, trimmed and cut into small florets and 2-inch stalk pieces.
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, with extra for serving

Instructions

1

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prick the Italian sausages with a fork (so that they won't explode!) and place them on a foiled sheet pan. Roast for 20 minutes in the oven, turning once, until just cooked through. Slice them into 1/2 inch coins and set aside.

2

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot or dutch oven (I used my Le Creuset dutch oven). Add the sausage slices and saute for 5 minutes until the pieces are browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the crushed tomatoes, red wine, tomato paste and salt and pepper and stir well to combine. Bring to a boil and then let simmer on low heat while you prepare the pasta and broccolini.

3

Cook the pasta according to the package instructions.

4

In the last 3 minutes of the pasta cook time, add the broccolini pieces in with the pasta and finish off cooking for 3 minutes.

5

Drain the pasta and broccolini and add to the tomato and sausage mixture.

6

Stir in the Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

 

Canadian Recipes/ Featured

Easy Bolognese

Hello everyone! Hope everyone is enjoying their summer. I have been neglecting this blog a bit lately, but I just paid my annual maintenance fees for it and that motivated me to keep this blog alive! I have been posting my cooking process on my Instagram stories about once a week, but I just never translate those stories into a blog post. I’m positive I’ve showed on my stories how to make this easy bolognese recipe before. This is a family favourite of ours, and I make it probably once every two weeks. It’s quick, it’s simple, it’s filling, and it calls for 1 cup of red wine which gives me an excuse to drink the rest of the bottle!

This is also my go-to main dish when my husband and I are having another couple over for dinner. Served with a salad and garlic toast, it’s more than enough to feed four ravenous adults.

This recipe is adapted from Ina Garten’s Weeknight Bolognese recipe. I made a couple tweaks to the recipe.   I don’t add fresh basil all of the time. I had a basil plant in my backyard and I would add basil to the recipe when my plant was alive and thriving. However, I managed to kill it off so now I add some dried basil to it instead. My main tweak to the recipe was to reduce the amount of wine added. I found that the extra 1/4 cup of wine that she calls for in her recipe is just a bit much and I could still taste the wine after it was done cooking. Considering I also feed this to my toddler, I didn’t think that was such a good thing. Also, 1/4 cup less wine in the recipe is 1/4 cup more wine for me to drink instead! Speaking of wine, I sometimes get asked what wine I use for my cooking. I cook with the same wine I would drink. And lately, it’s been this Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon. This retails for about $24 dollars in Regina, but whenever I go to Calgary I buy a case or two from the Costco liquor store. I was just in Calgary for the July long weekend, so my wine cabinet is stocked up with Liberty School. That should last me for another couple months until my next trip to Calgary at the end of August.

You can use any type of pasta you want, but I tend to use the bowtie pasta that you see in the pictures or this mafalda corta:

It’s the perfect shape to catch all the beefy goodness of the bolognese and it’s a fun shape for my toddler to grab onto.

Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think. I’ll be making this again tonight!

 

Easy Bolognese

Print Recipe
Serves: 4 Cooking Time: 45 mins

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 500g bag of dried pasta (I like bowtie or mafalda corta)
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (or 1/4 tsp dried basil)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

1

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cooking until meat is no longer pink (about 5-7 minutes). Drain off any excess fat from the skillet.

2

Stir in the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 more minute.

3

Pour 1 cup of the red wine into the skillet. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, 1/2 tbsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, stirring until combined. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.

4

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tbsp of salt. Add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the box/bag of pasta.

5

Add the nutmeg, dried or fresh basil, and heavy cream to the sauce and simmer for another 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

6

When the pasta is cooked, drain and pour into a large serving bowl. Add the sauce and 1/2 cup Parmesan and toss well.

7

Serve and enjoy with Parmesan on the side!