One-pot Tomato and Sausage (or Bean) Pasta with Greens

15 minutes, start to finish, adaptable and delicious and a good reason for having canned tomatoes and small pasta shapes in the pantry. You can use larger shapes and more of it (more like 3 cups of penne). You can substitute cooked beans/chickpeas for the sausage for a meat-free version. You can use parsley instead of basil, skip the greens, use fresh tomatoes instead of canned . . . just make it.

This version uses tender spring raab for the greens.

Serves 4

 

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, diced

1 cloves garlic, minced

2 (spicy) pork sausages, sliced into rounds and then cut into half-rounds or crumbled (I keep sausages in the freezer which makes them easy to cut) or 2 cups cooked or canned, drained beans

1 1/3 cups tubetti or ditalini or other small pasta shape

1 28-oz can tomatoes, juice and all, or 3 1/2 cups diced, fresh tomatoes

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 teaspoon salt (if your tomatoes are salted and you’re using a spicy sausage you may only need 1/4 teaspoon)

1 bunch tender greens like spring raab, spinach, chard, turnip or beet greens or tender kale, washed and finely chopped

Fresh basil or parsley (optional)

Grated Parmesan (optional)

Drizzle of olive oil, to finish

 

Heat the oil in a large skillet, for which you have a lid, over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic and sausage (or cooked beans) and saute for about 5 minutes. Add pasta, tomatoes, salt and water and stir well. Cover and bring to a simmer. Stir again to make sure the pasta doesn’t stick. Cover again and cook for 8 minutes or until pasta is almost tender. Add the greens and incorporate well. Cook for another minute or two until just tender and sauce is thickened. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt. Finish with a generous drizzle of olive oil and serve with fresh herbs and Parmesan, if you’d like.

Miso and Cider Vinegar Roasted Winter Vegetables

miso-roasted-squash-carrot-onion

miso-roasted-squash-onion-carrot-prep-ii

Use whatever combination of winter roots, tubers and squash you have on hand. Toss in some chunks of onion for variety. Skip the fresh herbs if you don’t have any as it’s nice and bright even without.

 

Serves 4

 

1 delicata squash, cut in half lengthwise, seeds and strings scraped out and then cut into quarters lengthwise and then crosswise into chunks

4-5 medium carrots, scrubbed, trimmed and cut into 1/3-inch slices on the bias

1 onion, roughly chopped

1 generous tablespoon white miso

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes or 1 small serrano pepper, minced

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt to taste

3 tablespoons chopped cilantro or parsley

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

 

Spread the vegetables on a sheet pan. Mix the remaining ingredients, except the salt, in a small bowl and drizzle over the vegetables. Be sure to use all the dressing/marinade and toss the vegetables so they are evenly coated. Roast for about 30 minutes, stirring several times during the roasting, until the vegetables are tender and browning in spots. Toss with the herbs, if using, taste and adjust seasoning with salt if needed. Serve hot or warm.

Quick Broccoli Orzo

You cook everything in one pot, drain, add a bit of cheese and olive oil and you have a steamy, good dish in 15 minutes or less.  Here I used broccoli and salad turnips and a few mustard green leaves. Use cauliflower, green beans, peas, carrots, other greens . . . it’s a good template for whatever veg you have.

 

 

Serves 4

 

11/2 cups orzo

6 cups broccoli, stems and florets cut into bite-sized pieces (or cauliflower or other veg–see headnote)

3 salad turnips, scrubbed and trimmed (no need to peel), cut into small dice (optional)

1 stalk green garlic or 2 cloves garlic, minced and divided

1 cup grated sharp cheddar or cheese of your choice

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Good olive oil

 

Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil. Add 2 teaspoons salt. Add the orzo and set a timer for 6 minutes. At six minutes, add the vegetables and half the garlic to the pasta and cook for an additional 4 minutes or until both orzo and vegetables are tender. Drain well and put in a serving dish with the remaining garlic, cheese, a good splash or two of olive oil and black pepper. Mix well and taste and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and/or oil.

 

 

 

Ratatouille

 

I love the time of year when I can make ratatouille, when sweet peppers, eggplant, summer squash and tomatoes are all at their peek–usually beginning early August and lasting until mid-to late September. In my cook-with-what-you-have version quantities are easily adapted and the ratios are not critical so scale up or down as needed. It is important to cook some of the vegetables separately so that you don’t crowd the pans and steam them rather than sautéing them. You want the browning and sweetness that comes with direct contact with the hot skillet.

 

It is a rich, stew-like dish in which the vegetables all break down a bit. It is not beautiful but it is GOOD! Serve with some good crusty bread, another salad, a frittata or some such. It’s even better the next day and delicious at room temperature as well.

 

Serves 4-6

 

4 medium tomatoes, diced

1 large eggplant, diced (no need to peel)

1 onion, cut into large dice

3 medium summer squash, sliced or diced

2 sweet peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces

Olive oil

Handful of torn basil leaves

2 cloves garlic, minced

Sea salt

Good olive oil for serving

 

Heat some olive oil in two large skillets over medium-high heat. Add the onions and peppers to one pan and the zucchini to the other. Sprinkle all with a bit of salt. Cook both on high heat for a few minutes, stirring frequently and then turn down to medium high and continue sautéing until softened and browning just a bit. When the zucchini is just about tender remove it from the pan and reserve. Add a bit more oil and add the eggplant and a bit more salt. You can keep the peppers and onions sautéing on medium while the eggplant cooks. When the eggplant is tender and browning, add half of it to the pepper and onion pan and divide the zucchini between the pans–or if you have space put it all in one pan now. Now add the tomato to both (or just the one pan) and bring to a lively simmer and cook for about 10 minutes to marry the flavors and soften the tomatoes. Add the garlic and basil and cook for 2 more minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve warm (but not hot) or at room temperature with a drizzle of good olive oil.

 

White Beans with Leeks and Sausage

This is more technique than recipe and is one of those that can be endlessly adapted and is a good template. Make it more or less soupy. Add kale or other greens or use more onion if you don’t have leeks. Change the ratio of vegetables to beans. Use bacon instead of sausage or leftover chicken or no meat at all. The beans are creamy and rich on their own. Add spices, maybe chili flakes or cumin and coriander.

 

Serves 4

 

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

2 pork sausages, spicy if you like, sliced into rounds or crumbled

2 large leeks, trimmed, well washed, cut in half lengthwise and then cut into thin half moons

1 teaspoon of fresh or dried thyme, savory or sage

3 cups cooked beans (I used Corona beans in the above version but any medium-large white bean works well)

2-3 cups bean cooking liquid (depending how thick/thin you’d like it), veg or chicken broth

Salt and pepper

 

In a large skillet or dutch oven heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion, leeks, sausage and herbs and a couple of pinches of salt. Stir well and sauté for several minutes, then cover the pan and turn down to medium and cook for about 10 minutes until the leeks have softened.  Stir in the beans and cooking liquid or broth simmer for 5 minutes to marry the flavors. Season with freshly ground black pepper and add salt if needed. Serve with another drizzle of good olive oil and good, crusty bread.