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Sunday, January 06, 2008

WIshing you a happy 2008 through rustic italian pasta

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So folks, it's been a while. A long while. Come to think of it, it's kinda been three months since my last real post.

Isn't that something, eh?

Funny how time flies.

Well, the good news is that I don't have to diet this year. In fact, I've got carte blanche to gain about 25-35 pounds over the next six and a bit months. Neat, eh?

Of course I can't drink any vino, and I'm supposed to avoid sushi and most other yummy indulgent things....but hey - there's a MINI FOODIE on the way! :) Coming late July/early August 2008. Let's all hope my picky kid posts don't come back to bite me in the arse or you al l will have great old belly laugh at my expense. :)

Anyway, I haven't posted much lately because, to be honest, I've barely been able to eat. I've felt kinda icky and not at all hungry....but the good news is that as the first tri is coming to an end, I'm actually back to looking at recipes and other food sites without turning green. So I can post again! And lucky for hubs, he actually gets to eat homemade food again.

First though, I have some confessions to make.....

In the last few weeks, I have:
- eaten boxed mac and cheese no fewer than three times
- sent my husband out at 1 am for Chicken McNuggets with bbq sauce because I HAD to have them
- insisted on eating a big mac (um.....EWWWWWWWWWWWWW)
- subsisted nearly entirely on simple carbohydrates
- generally grumped, whined and moaned my way through the first trimester.

On the up side Christmas brought a new attachment for the kitchen aid (a meat grinder - prepare for LOTS of new uses for ground meat).

Anyway, you don't come here for my random rambles, you come here for the food. So let's get to dinner. I wanted to come up with a kind of rustic italian stew - the kind a nice old italian nonna would have made for her hungry family (or at least something similar....y'all know that authenticity and I are rarely intimate bedfellows). But in the interest of not becomind a whale in the next bit, I wanted a way for it to be hearty, rustic but not to butt-enrounding.

This is what I came up with - I loved it. It had just the right amount of bite, acidity, texture, and is a good way to incorporate marginally sketchy fridge veggies that may be slightly past their prime (hey, is it really my fault that anything green or crunchy was out?????).

Rigatoni with Rustic Sausage Stew
1 lb rigatoni (or other chunky pasta)

2 T olive oil
(most people would put garlic here, but I still can't eat it....neither can hubs...because I can SMELL IT FOR DAYS....poor guy - use 2-3 cloves if you can stand it. Just don't talk to me after)
1 onion, diced (not too fine)
1 green pepper, diced (again, not too fine - we want chunky!)
1 head broccoli, coarsely chopped (you could use any veggie here - zucchini, mushrooms, etc.)
1 cup red wine (it's the only way I get to have any! and it really enhances the flavour)
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 t oregano
1 t italian seasoning
1 T balsamic vinegar
1-1.5 cups low fat cottage cheese (sneaky way to up calcium)

6 lean italian turkey sausages (best way to lower the fat and uck content of this recipe)

parmesan cheese for grating

1. Set a big pot of salted water to boil.

2. Cook your sausages - I prefer doing them on my indoor grill. It's quick, easy, and if you slice the little suckers diagonally, it lets all the extra fat drain out.

anyone want a turkey weiner?

3. In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the (garlic if you MUST...but again, do NOT come near me) onion and green pepper. Sauté until the veggies brown just a little bit (like nonna went outside to yell at the family to come in and got distracted a moment).

so i browned 'em.  so sue me

4. Add the wine. Let it boil until it's about half evaporated.

the only way I get to have vino for the next 6 months...

5. Add the can of tomatoes, the oregano and the italian seasoning. Add the broccoli at this point too.

6. Meanwhile, your sausages should be just about done. Using a sharp knife, slice them up and toss them in with the sauce. Add the cottage cheese.

not the image you want of your weiner....

7. Now your water should be boiling. Cook the pasta about 12 minutes, until done to your liking. This will give your stew time to blend and develop a little more flavour. If it's losing too much liquid, turn the heat down.

8. Drain the pasta, return to the pot and dump your stew in on top. Serve topped with parmesan cheese. It would be fabulous with a nice italian red...but you'll have to raise a glass for me, as I am reduced to toasting with grape juice. :)

dinner is served!

Thanks for reading! Now that I seem to be able to eat again, I will be back!

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