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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!


Jenny said...

Well congrats! (And I won't be one of those ladies who bite you in the a.. if you have a picky kid, though I might laugh alot.) :-)
Stew looks great, even without garlic and with green peppers.
Welcome back!

Janny A. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Janny A. said...

Ooh!! That looks Beyond yummy!!! Definitely something I needs to try (although I will need to find something to substitute the red wine for... Any tips?)

Ferda said...

Congratulations! what great news!
Also, the pasta looks delicious. I've been thinking of investing in an indoor grill. Would you say you get good use out of yours?

Marlene said...

Good to have you back, and congratulations on the good news!

Peter M said...

Congrats...I look forward to your ice cream & pickles post!

BubblyBunny said...

Congrats on the baby news!! (See email for a few more comments.) I hope you'll be able to start enjoying your meal so you can go back to posting more recipes!! This recipe you posted looked really good and easy to do! Yum!!

leslie @ definitely not martha said...

Thanks so much everyone!

quellia - I know. I totally deserve a picky kid. :)

janny - you could substitute broth (chicken or veg) for the wine. :)

ferda - I find the grill is quite useful. Right now, our bbq is completely inaccessible due to snow, so it's very practical for quickly cooking chicken breasts and sausages and grilled sandwiches. I got mine on sale for $35 and it has removable plates. Totally worth it.

thanks marlene!

peter - pickles are pending gastro acceptance of garlic. hahaha

bubblybunny - thank you! it is very easy. Which is good, because at the end of the day, that's about all I can hack! :)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! What great news!

kickpleat said...

congrats on the baby front! and the pasta and sausage looks good too! i like the tip about slicing the sausages to let out the fat.

Deborah said...

Congratulations!! I swear there must be something in the water - I think you are the third or fourth food blog that I read to announce that they are prego! I wonder if that water is going to make it over to my side of the pond any time soon....

The pasta looks amazing!

Christy said...

Once again, Congrats!

Pasta looks yummy as always :)

Anonymous said...

He or she will be one lucky kid with your cooking!
This recipe looks really tasty and a great way to use up the rest of my veggies too. Glad you're back to posting!


Anonymous said...

Congrats on your coming blessing

Me being a foodie who before kids thought that picky eaters were made not born I hope that you don't have to eat your words- but don't be surpised if you do. I had to eat mine.

Anonymous said...

No garlic? That's tragic! :)

Congratulations again on your pregnancy. I look forward to seeing what creative baby foods you whip up next year!

Jennifer / Lannen

Anonymous said...

Great to have you back Leslie! I was wondering where you had run off to!

Congrats on the good news!!

PheMom said...

Congrats on the mini-foodie! Just eat lots of good things while you are preggers and the babe will learn the taste. Oh, and a word of advice I wish someone had given me when you eventually start feeding foods to your babe... make it from what you are having as much as possible and start out with veggies, not fruits. To this day my 4-year old won't eat veggies, but loves fruit. Best wishes!

ms wendy said...

Oh thank god you're back! You always provide good recipe-inspiration for me (even if I don't cook the recipe, the yummy pictures at least make me think about cooking food!).

And congrats on the baby front! Awesome, awesome, awesome.

Lynne Daley said...

Congratulations on the new baby! The rustic Italian pasta looks good. Will make it for my guests this weekend.

Emily said...

Congratulations! Oddly enough, I had a feeling this was why you weren't posting on here. I remember when you had your wedding from the website "Wedding Bells" and figured it wouldn't be long. Glad to have your recipes back too!

Anonymous said...

Tried it tonight with veggie broth instead of the red wine and it was good!! :)

Debbie said...

Congratulations! I hope you are blessed with a little kitchen helper.

The pasta recipe looks fantastic, I will definitely be trying it.

Keep your protein levels high and it should take care of most icky feelings over the next few months.

Have fun making baby food. I loved doing that the first time around. Now I am re-learning for #2 and enjoying it just as much!

Anonymous said...

i've cooked many things off your blogs - love the recipes!!! and i'm so psyched that you are preggers! awesome news, congrats to you! enjoy and all the best !

Anonymous said...

Congrats on your pregnancy. I am in the TTC mode on the wb board. This recipe looks great, I love that you chose turkey sausage. I think I will try to make this tonight.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on your pregnancy. I am in the TTC mode on the wb board. This recipe looks great, I love that you chose turkey sausage. I think I will try to make this tonight.

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Congratulations! Glad to hear you're over the first trimester. Best wishes for smooth sailing on the other two.

Anonymous said...

Just made your pasta last night (with garlic), and it was AWESOME!!! Thanks so much for the recipe.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! Glad to hear you're over the first trimester and good luck for the rest!
I am myself in the sixth month and am expecting a boy that wants to eat only salty foods.
Nice job on the blog! It looks delicious:):)


Dharm said...

Hey Congrats Leslie! I came by to check on your DB challenge and this was much, much better news!! You take care now!

Tanya said...


Deborah Dowd said...

Congrats on the coming babe! What a blessing. I have had 6 children and every pregnancy was different, but I remember being so nauseous with my daughter (who is now 27!) that I could only eat toast with butter and peanut butter and chocolate milk for three months!

Anonymous said...

I love your Blog. I'm making this dish to night. I can't wait to try it. Congrats on the pregnancy!!

Jenny said...

Oh happy days your back. I found your blog right after you stopped blogging. Glad to see you are back and thanks for the great post! Yay for babies!

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