Saturday, May 10, 2008

Home Cooked Meal!

I had been on the road for four days doing recruiting for the University. While I love that the University pays for my meals (and there were some good ones, including Indian food), I really was in need of a home cooked meal last night. I was also exhausted, so I didnt want too much prep work. I chose a recipe from the Chicken cookbook by Williams Sonoma. It is called Pasta Rustica with Chicken Sausage and Three Cheeses. It was the perfect balance of comfort food and healthy eating. I substituted some healthier choices (I have lost 6 pounds in the past three weeks) and it still came out deliciously. I had a glass of saugvignon blanc with the meal; it paired quite nicely. The pasta baked well and got crusty on top; it became hard not to start picking at the top pieces once it came out of the oven!

Pasta Rustica with Chicken Sausage and Three Cheeses
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 lb. chicken or turkey sausage, casings removed (I used lowfat sweet turkey sausage)
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. hot red pepper flakes
1 can (28 oz.) tomatoes in puree, tomatoes coarsely chopped and puree reserved
Salt, to taste
1 lb. penne pasta (I used Dreamfields)
1 1/4 cups ricotta cheese (I used fat free and it melted and tasted nicely)
2 cups shredded fontina or mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (I used Romano)

In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up into bite-size pieces, until no longer pink, about 6 minutes. Stir in the basil, oregano and red pepper flakes. Add the tomatoes and puree and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 10 to 12 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt. Preheat an oven to 350oF. Lightly oil a baking dish. Bring a large pot three-fourths full of water to a boil over high heat. Salt the water, add the pasta, stir well and cook until barely al dente (tender but firm to the bite), 10 to 12 minutes. Drain well. In a large bowl, toss the pasta with the sauce, the ricotta and fontina. Spread in the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with the Parmigiano-Reggiano.Bake until the cheeses are melted and the tips of the pasta are crusty, about 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Serve hot. Serves 6 to 8.

Dishing Politics

As an Obama supporter, I like this photo.
As a foodie, I like this photo.
As an Obama supporter and foodie combined, I LOVE THIS PHOTO.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Papa Doble

Though I have visited the old watering hole (Sloppy Joe's) of Papa's in Key West with my papa, the etymology of the "Papa Doble" (aka Hemingway cocktail aka Hemingway daiquiri) is from his favorite bar in Havana called La Floridita.

There are many variations of this cocktail, but the following recipe is the one I use and love. I have made it for many of my friends, and they have all enjoyed sipping this rum-filled drink on a warm summer day. I haven't had one since last summer with Moo...I associate them with her now and miss her tonight as I sip away. I made one tonight (11:22pm) - it was a long day, so what else is a child to do but rely on her Papa for some support after a grueling 16 hour work day?

Read Moo's blog here - my dear is in Africa:

1 1/2 oz Light rum
1/4 oz Maraschino liqueur (this can be hard to find, but you need to search until you do/its essential!)
3/4 oz Lime juice
1/4 oz Grapefruit juice

Shake it up with ice and pour into a martini glass.

Now go re-read The Sun Also Rises!