Rigatoni with Sausage & Greens

This dish has a wonderful combination of flavors and textures. It’s creamy from the creme fraiche, meaty from the sausage, and earthy from the kale. I loved that the entire dish was prepared in a single pot- such a bonus. It was a great weeknight meal.

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Justin Chapple. The original recipe called for mustard greens; I used an abundant amount of Toscano kale from my CSA share instead. I also increased the amount of pasta, garlic, and creme fraiche. My family will gobble up any amount of kale if it’s creamy and prepared with pasta and sausage. Genius. 🙂

Yield: Serves 6
  1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until 
al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water, then drain.
  2. In the same pot, heat the olive oil until shimmering.
  3. Add the sausage and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until just cooked through, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl.
  4. Add the leeks, garlic and a generous pinch of salt to the pot and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are softened, 
about 5 minutes.
  5. Return the sausage to the pot.
  6. Add the mustard greens and tomatoes and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the greens are just wilted and the tomatoes start to burst, 5 to 7 minutes.
  7. Add the pasta, crème fraîche and reserved pasta water and cook, tossing, until the pasta is hot and coated in a light sauce, about 2 minutes.
  8. Season the pasta with salt and pepper and serve right away.

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Sheet Pan Turkey Meatballs with Roasted Harissa Chickpeas & Tomatoes

We have such a big adjustment- to life!- at the beginning of the school year. I feel like we’re always pressed for time… especially when it comes to preparing a family dinner. I have a few weeknight meals that I’d like to share that have helped us during crunch time. 🙂

This delicious sheet pan dinner was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Claire Saffitz. I used ground turkey instead of ground chicken and halved the harissa to decrease the level of spiciness. We ate it with crusty bread. Spicy and Great!!

Yield: 4 Servings
  • 3 to 6 tablespoons jarred harissa paste, divided ( I used Trader Joe’s Harissa)
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup panko
  • 6 ounces feta in brine plus ÂĽ cup brine, cheese crumbled, divided (I used sheep’s milk feta)
  • â…” cup chopped parsley, divided
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 garlic cloves, divided
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound ground chicken or turkey
  • 1 pint mixed cherry or grape tomatoes, halved if large
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed, drained
  • crusty bread, for serving, optional
  1. Place a rack in top of oven; preheat to 400°, preferably on convection roast.
  2. Taste your harissa. If it’s extremely spicy, cut quantities used in recipe in half (…which I did!).
  3. Using a fork, stir 1 egg, ½ cup panko, ¼ cup feta brine, half of crumbled feta, half of parsley, 2 T (or 4 T if not halved) harissa, and 2 T oil in a large bowl until egg is blended and mixture looks homogenous.
  4. Finely grate or push 2 garlic cloves through a garlic press into bowl, then add 1 teaspoon salt and several cranks of black pepper. Be pretty generous here; 10 cranks wouldn’t be too much! Stir again with a fork.
  5. Add ground meat to garlic and work with clean hands until the meat is totally intermingled with panko mixture. Work it enough so that you don’t see big distinct pieces of meat, but then stop. Overworking could lead to crumbly meatballs. The mixture will feel very soft and wet and look a bit shiny.
  6. Pour tomatoes and chickpeas into the center of a large rimmed baking sheet. Add 2 T oil and remaining 1 T (or 2 T if not halved) harissa. Season with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Using clean hands or a small spatula, toss everything together right on sheet until chickpeas and tomatoes are evenly coated.
  7. Next you’re going to form the meatballs, but don’t wash your hands if you used them—the coating of oil will prevent them from sticking to your palms. Roll ground meat mixture gently and loosely between your palms into about 14 to 16 golf ball-sized balls (it’s okay if the balls aren’t perfectly round; just try to make them about the same size). (I used a large cookie scoop and kept my hands clean.) Place on baking sheet, tucking them in and around chickpeas and tomatoes and spacing evenly apart.
  8. Bake meatballs on top rack until about halfway cooked through, 12–15 minutes. Remove from oven and take a look. The tomatoes should be starting to soften and burst, and the meatballs should look opaque and feel a bit springy to the touch. If not, bake a few minutes longer.
  9. Meanwhile, combine remaining 3 oz. feta, â…“ cup parsley, and 2 T oil in a small bowl, then grate or use a garlic press to add in the remaining garlic clove. Toss with fork to distribute. Turn on broiler (to high if your broiler has settings).
  10. Place baking sheet back on top rack if your broiler is on the top of your oven. Broil meatballs, rotating tray once or twice if they’re browning unevenly, until browned and fully cooked through, some tomatoes are lightly charred, and some chickpeas are crisp, 8–10 minutes.
  11. Let sit a few minutes, then sprinkle feta mixture over meatballs.

Note: Meatballs can be formed on baking sheet 1 day ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and chill.

I’m bringing my dish to share at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #190, co-hosted by Shinta @Carmel Tinted Life and Diann @Of Goats and Greens. Enjoy!

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Bucatini with Roasted & Fresh Tomatoes

This is a wonderful seasonal dish to make with summer tomatoes. It was especially fabulous with my new favorite pasta, bucatini, too. We ate it warm but it could also be enjoyed at room temperature. The crunchy, cheesy croutons really added something special.

I used store-bought ricotta as a shortcut, but included a link to freshly made ricotta below. This recipe was (very slightly) adapted from Martha Stewart Living. Quick and delicious!

Yield: Serves 4
  • 1 pound grape or cherry tomatoes (3 cups)
  • 7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 slices rustic bread, crusts removed, torn into small pieces (1 1/2 cups) (I used Trader Joe’s Tuscan Pane)
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano (1/2 ounce), plus more for serving
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cut into a 1/2-inch dice (2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup packed shredded fresh basil, plus sprigs for serving
  • 3 tablespoons shredded fresh mint, plus sprigs for serving (I omitted the mint)
  • 12 ounces bucatini, spaghetti, or linguine
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. In an 8-inch square baking dish, toss cherry tomatoes with 3 tablespoons oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast until bursting and charred in spots, 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, on a parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet, toss bread with 2 tablespoons oil and Pecorino Romano; season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing halfway through, until golden brown and crisp, about 12 minutes.
  4. Toss diced tomatoes, basil, and mint (if using) with remaining 2 tablespoons oil; season with salt and pepper.
  5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta; cook according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup liquid; drain.
  6. Return pasta to pot; toss with roasted tomatoes, their oil, and 1/2 cup reserved pasta water. (Tomatoes should coat pasta but not create much of a sauce.) Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Divide among plates, then give each a dollop of ricotta, a spoonful of fresh-tomato mixture, and a sprinkle of croutons.
  8. Serve, garnished with a sprig or two of herbs, a generous drizzle of oil, and some cheese and pepper.

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Roasted Squash with Cherry Tomatoes & Eggs

Similar to my last post, this is another lovely breakfast, lunch, or dinner dish. A nice vegetarian meal! I (almost) always make roasted acorn squash with maple syrup, so this was also a nice change of pace. The chile paste made it amazing.

This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living. I used my CSA acorn squash and festival sweet dumpling squash and added roasted potatoes. We ate it for dinner with a green salad on the side.

I’m sharing this dish at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #139, co-hosted by Antonia @ Zoale and Sandhya @ Indfused. Enjoy!

  • 2 small acorn squashes (up to 1 1/2 pounds each)
  • 2-3 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, plus 6 sprigs
  • 2 cups (12 oz) mixed cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tsp sambal oelek (or other chile paste), plus more for serving
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 pound fingerling potatoes, halved crosswise
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees, preferably set to convection roast, with racks in the center, upper, and lower thirds of the oven.
  2. Line 3 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Toss potatoes with olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  4. Rub squashes all over with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Prick inside surface all over with a fork. Season with salt and thyme leaves.
  5. Place squash cut side down over thyme sprigs on a prepared baking sheet. Place on upper rack of oven and roast for 10 minutes.
  6. Along with the squash, add potatoes to oven on the lower rack. Roast for 10 minutes as well.
  7. Meanwhile, toss the tomatoes in the remaining tablespoon of oil; season with salt and pepper. Spread on the third baking sheet in a single layer.
  8. After the initial 10 minutes of roasting is complete, add the tomatoes to the oven on the center oven rack and roast about 20 to 25 minutes more, or until tomatoes are beginning to collapse. The squash should be tender and the cut surface of the potatoes lightly brown.
  9. Remove tomatoes and potatoes from the oven. Set aside, in a warming drawer, if possible.
  10. Turn the squashes cut side up and roast 5 minutes more.
  11. Spoon 1/2 teaspoon chile paste into each hollow, then crack an egg into each. Season with salt.
  12. Return to oven and bake until whites are set but still a bit wobbly and yolks are soft, about 10 minutes.
  13. Let stand for 3 minutes. Then, serve garnished with roasted tomatoes, more chile paste, salt and pepper with roasted potatoes on the side.

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Ottolenghi’s Tomato & Pomegranate Salad

This salad was fresh, bright, colorful, and loaded with flavor. I loved the crunch from the pomegranate seeds too. We ate it as part of our Middle Eastern feast along with grilled chicken thighs, Hummus, Baked Rice, Deconstructed Baba Ghanouj, and warm naan. Delicious!

This recipe was adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi via The New York Times, contributed by Sam Sifton. I made my own za’atar spice blend and omitted the mint. It would be a lovely side with any grilled meat. Perfect for a picnic too.

I’m bringing this dish to Angie’s Fiesta Friday #127 co-hosted by my friends Suzanne @A Pug in the Kitchen and Jess @ Cooking is my Sport. Enjoy!

For the Za’atar:

  • 1 T thyme
  • 1 T sesame seeds, toasted in a dry skillet and coarsely pulsed in a spice grinder
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt

For the Salad:

  • 2 pints mixed small or cherry tomatoes, of varying colors
  • 2 teaspoons za’atar (see above)
  • 3 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • seeds from 1 pomegranate (I used a 5.3 oz package of pomegranate seeds)
  • ½ yellow bell pepper, seeds removed and very thinly sliced
  • ½ small red onion, peeled and very thinly sliced
  • â…“ cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
  • â…“ cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, chiffonade (I omitted the mint)
  • freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1/2 of a lemon)
  • flaky sea salt such as Fleur de Sel
  • 3 ½ ounces manouri or feta cheese, broken into small chunks
  1. Make the Za’atar: Toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet until lightly toasted. Pulse in a spice grinder until a powder is formed. Combine with sumac, thyme, and coarse salt. Set aside.
  2. Halve or quarter the tomatoes so that they are all roughly the same size, and place them in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Mix two teaspoons of the za’atar with 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil, and set aside.
  4. To the bowl with tomatoes, add the pomegranate seeds, sliced pepper and onion, the herbs, lemon juice, cheese, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and 1 teaspoon of salt.
  5. Gently mix the salad, then transfer it to a large shallow bowl or serving platter. Drizzle the za’atar mixture over the salad and serve.

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Strozzapreti with Roasted Tomatoes

My husband is SPOILED. He said that this dish was “standard” fare. “We always eat fresh tomatoes and basil, ” he said. What could be better than two (plus) pounds of local farm stand tomatoes smothered in backyard basil, garlic, and loads of cheese? (That’s what I say!) Yummy!

Well… It would have been better is I had made fresh pasta, I suppose. I substituted store-bought (but special) pasta. I did include the directions to make the homemade strozzapreti because it would bring this tasty dish to a new level. It was absolutely delicious with dry pasta too! This recipe was adapted from the New York Times, contributed by Chris Warde-Jones. I tripled the recipe, reduced the oil, and used dry (store-bought) pasta.

BTW- I am so proud of my backyard basil! I told my kids (who ALWAYS want to set up a lemonade stand) that they should have a basil stand! 🙂

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Yield: 6 servings

For the Sauce:

  • 2 1/2 pounds cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, more to taste
  • 15 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups finely grated pecorino cheese
  • 3/4 cup, firmly packed, fresh basil or parsley leaves
  • 14 to 16 oz strozzapreti (or fresh pasta- recipe below)


For the Fresh Pasta:

  • 1 cup grano duro flour or unbleached all-purpose flour, more as needed
  • 2 large eggs
  • Salt

To Make the Sauce:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine tomatoes, 3 tablespoons oil and 12 minced garlic cloves. Toss well, then spread tomatoes on a baking sheet, cut sides up.
  3. Roast until soft and collapsing, about 45 minutes; do not allow to dry or brown.
  4. Meanwhile, in a food processor combine remaining minced garlic, cheese, and basil (or parsley). Process until very finely chopped.
  5. When tomatoes are soft, immediately spread cheese-herb mixture on top and lightly mash with a spoon so cheese melts. Drizzle with 2 more tablespoons oil (or more to taste), and set aside.

For the Fresh Strozzapreti: (I substituted store-bought pasta.)

  1. On a wooden counter or large cutting board, mound 1 cup flour and make a well in center. Break eggs into well.
  2. Using your hands, mix eggs in well, gradually pulling in more and more flour to make a pasty dough. Knead dough briefly, using lightly floured hands if dough is very wet; it should be moist but not sticky.
  3. Scrape wooden board clean. Using a wooden rolling pin (and a very light dusting of flour if necessary), roll dough out as thinly as possible into an approximate rectangle.
  4. Using a knife, score rectangle into strips an inch wide and about three inches long. Pick up one piece of dough and press it around a bamboo meat skewer about the diameter of an umbrella spoke. This is most successful if done quickly and not too carefully, so that dough fits tightly round skewer with an overlapping, visible seam. Slide skewer out of pasta and set pasta aside on a plate. Repeat to use remaining dough. Pieces should be irregular in size and shape.

To Finish the Dish:

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. If desired, return baking sheet of tomatoes to a 300-degree oven just to reheat.
  2. Add strozzapreti to pot and cook until tender, slightly chewy and no longer raw in center. This is best done by tasting after strozzapreti float to surface; be careful not to under- or overcook. Alternatively, if using store-bought pasta, cook according to package directions.
  3. Drain cooked pasta and pour into a large bowl; immediately add tomatoes. Toss quickly and serve hot.

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Pasta Alla Norma with Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

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My son is learning about eating a balanced diet in Cub Scouts. He had to plan a balanced menu and then compare it to his actual diet. When he was sharing the “healthy food items” from his actual menu with his den, he included slow-roasted tomatoes. His den leader- who happens to be a chef- had such a huge reaction: “Wow! Who made slow-roasted tomatoes? They are so good for you!”. I was so proud. 🙂

I had made this Sicilian dish in the past and enjoyed it, so I knew that this time-consuming version would be worth it. This recipe was adapted from the New York Times, contributed by Mark Bittman. I nearly doubled the tomatoes, eggplant, and the ricotta salata- I prefer to have TONS of veggies on my pasta. 🙂 Fabulous!!

Time: 3-4 hours, mostly unattended

Yield: 4 servings

  • 50 grape or cherry tomatoes, depending on size, cut in half
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • coarse salt
  • 2-3 thyme sprigs, optional
  • 4 cloves garlic, lightly crushed and peeled
  • 1 3/4 pounds small to medium eggplants, trimmed and cut in half lengthwise
  • 2/3 to 1 pound fresh pasta (I used fresh pappardelle)
  • 4 to 6 ounces ricotta salata, grated, diced small, or broken into small chunks
  • 20 basil leaves, torn
  1. Heat the oven to 275 degrees. Put the tomatoes in one layer in an ovenproof pan and drizzle them liberally with oil, then salt and sprinkle with thyme sprigs, if using. Roast for about an hour, then stir and roast for another half-hour or so.
  2. After the 1 1/2 hours, when tomatoes are shriveled, add garlic, turn down heat to 225 degrees and roast for at least another hour. They should not cook completely dry; if they threaten to overcook, turn the heat down or pull them out. Fish out the garlic if you like. (I left it in!)
  3. In a large cast iron skillet, sizzle the eggplant in about 1/4 inch of oil over medium heat. (cover with a splatter screen!) The oil should bubble steadily. Turn eggplant as needed until nicely browned, about 1 minute on each side. Drain on paper towels, and when cool enough to handle, cut roughly into strips.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta.
  5. Add the eggplant to the tomatoes and stir. If the sauce is too thick, thin it with a bit of the pasta water.
  6. Cook the pasta and warm a serving bowl. At the bottom of the bowl put half the sauce and half the ricotta salata. Add the pasta and the remaining sauce, cheese and basil and toss.

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