Sunday, September 19, 2010

Farfalle with Italian Sausage and Broccolini

Broccolini. What to say about Broccolini?Also known as asparation or baby broccoli, it is not in fact baby broccoli but a cross between broccoli and chinese chard (Gai lan). I've never had it before, so I thought I would give it a try. Some say it tastes a little like asparagus, others say broccoli. I say either way, it's delicious!


Especially when paired with sausage and farfalle pasta. Others might see the resemblance to Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe & Spicy Sausage, which would make sense. I just wanted to make it my own, so I used broccolini (which I think looks prettier than rabe), farfalle instead of orecchiette (my honey doesn't like orecchiette. don't ask why, I have no clue!), and chicken Italian sausage instead of the standard pork.

Broccoli Rabe
And I do have to say, I think it turned out pretty tasty. Tim is one of those who has to have some sort of sauce on his pasta, so he added some marinara to his and that was pretty tasty too. So if you are a saucist like my honey, go ahead and add some marinara. If your a purist, like me, keep it out!

Farfalle with Italian Sausage and Broccolini

1 lb. broccolini, ends trimmed and roughly chopped
1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for sprinkling
1 lb chicken Italian sausage, casings removed and sliced or crumbled
2 garlic cloves, minced 
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 lb. farfalle pasta

1. Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. During last 3 minutes of cooking, add broccolini.
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a saute pan over medium heat and cook sausages until no pink remains. Remove sausage from pan; add garlic and fennel seeds and cook 1 min till fragrant.
3. Add sausages back to pan and lower heat . Using a slotted spoon, remove broccolini and pasta and add to saute pan. Add some pasta water (2 tbsp to 1/4 c.) to make sauce. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes if desired, or add marinara sauce.



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Friday, September 17, 2010

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

I've been slowly getting back into cooking every night since our move. We were eating out almost every night and I had no motivation to cook. I slowly realized that the reason behind my lack of motivation was that the produce selection at my local store (which shall remain nameless) was rather boring and not of very good quality. I wasn't wanting to cook because I knew my food wasn't going to taste as good as it could.

So I decided to try shopping at Whole Foods. I was hesitant at first because I heard that they were really expensive (which is true for most of their stuff) and because getting to the one near me was going to be a headache because of traffic. But now, at least for produce and meat, I'm never going back to the local unnamed store.

Everything is locally grown or raised within 100 miles (except for things that simply won't grow in Washington like spicy peppers, but I don't use those anyways) and it's always super fresh and I've been really happy with everything I've bought. I try to buy in season fruit for our lunches and the nectarines and plums are so juicy and sweet and they smell so wonderful (the ones at the unnamed store were bruised, off-color and smelled like.. well nothing. And fruit should smell like fruit!)

And as for the prices, only the processed stuff is expensive. The meat is a little bit spendy, but you are getting the good stuff (grass-fed, no hormones, etc.) so it's totally worth it. And the produce is the best quality I've found so far (except a farmer's market, but the ones around me are really small and it's hard to go during the weekdays since I leave work at 4-4:30 and don't get home till 5-5:30 and most markets close at 6). So if you have a Whole Foods near you, it's worth the trip. And then just buy your staples at your local store. That's my plan at least.

Anyways, on to the food I've been making!

I wanted to make some soupy soup this week since it's been raining and I've been dying for it to be fall. So I thought butternut soup would be good.

I based this recipe off of the one in I Love to Cook by Lauren Groveman. I've simplified mine a bit so it's a little different. And plus her's makes like 7 quarts or some insane amount and since there is only two of us, that's a little much. But if you have that many mouths to feed (or maybe just a few really hungry boys!) then by all means, double or triple it. I'm sure this recipe will freeze well too, so that's another option.

Ok on to the soup. It's creamy, slightly sweet, and super delicious. Some hidden ingredients are added to make it even better than regular butternut soup. An apple is added for sweetness, a potato to make the soup smooth (without the addition of cream), and some curry for some spice. All of it adds up to one delicious, warming meal that's sure to please many.

Thanks to

Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Peas and Chicken

1 leek, washed well, halved and sliced thinly
1/2 yellow onion, sliced thinly
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
1 golden delicious apple, peeled, cored, and cubed
1 russet potato, peeled and cubed
7 c. chicken stock
2 tsp curry powder (more or less, depending on how you like it)
1.5 cups frozen peas
1/2 chicken, cooked and shredded
Sour cream or creme fraiche, if desired

1. Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add onion and leeks and cook for 1 min. Turn heat down to low and cover, cooking for 10 minutes until soft.
2. Add garlic, squash, apple, potato and stock. Bring to boil, then simmer for 45 minutes, until all are soft. After 30 minutes, add the curry powder. Using a hand blender (or regular blender), blend until smooth.
3. Stir in the peas and the chicken; cook for 5 more minutes to heat. Ladle into bowls and serve with a dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche on top.



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