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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Pasta dinner in less than an hour


Last night was surely a challenge for me.  I have a daughter who is trying a new diet that requires her to be finished eating by 8:00 p.m.  It get's a little tricky when I don't get home until after 6 and have to try to decide what to make for dinner.  Sometimes it takes longer than other times!   I decided the easiest thing to make would be one of my one-pan pasta meals.  My brain goes into comfort mode at this point.... Italian sausage, roasted red pepper, fresh basil and parsley, tomatoes, garlic (of course), onion, fresh spinach - a meal I am quite comfortable and have had great success with.

I begin by cooking the pasta.   While it is cooking, I get to work on cooking the other ingredients

Defrost, remove casings and quickly cook the sausage.  When done, put to the side and cook the onion and roughly chopped garlic.  Add the cooked sausage back in, peppers, spinach, tomatoes, a touch of crushed red pepper, basil and parsley.

As far as quantities are concerned, I never measure these things.  I go by how it looks in the pan.  I think I used a whole package of sausage, about 3-4 handfuls of spinach, and about 1/4 cup of basil and parsley.  Feel free to add more or less...

In keeping with what seems to be my forte, I found some leftover tomatoes and fresh mozzarella in my fridge and thought they would be a great addition, so I cut them up and added them in.  A generous handful of Parmesan cheese and it's on to the sauce...

Now for the pasta sauce.  I have a very easy recipe for sauce that I use all the time.  Simmer 1-2 cans of stewed tomatoes, 1 stick of butter and 1/2 - 1 whole Vidalia onion for about 30 minutes.  When the onion is nice and tender, use a hand blender and puree.  Add salt and pepper to taste along with some Parmesan cheese.  That is it!  Pure tomato flavor....

So there you have it.  I made it just under the wire and it came out delicious.  I really love these one-pan pasta dinners because they always come out a little different each time.   Without a set recipe, you can always find new things to add!

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