Marinara Sauce de la Jenni| Suburban Foodie Original

Why make your own marinara sauce? Why not?

I’ve been cooking long enough so I decided to create my own recipe for marinara. I’ve made it a few times and made tweaks along the way. I think the final version is pretty tasty (if I do say so myself).

Just FYI. This sauce is better the next day, so the longer it sits and stews, the better.

I’ve used it in many ways ~ as the sauce in my lasagna (added sausage), as a basic sauce over penne pasta (added heavy cream), and as a braising sauce for short ribs.

Marinara Sauce de la Jenni / Suburban Foodie Original

Cook & Prep Time: 20 minutes for prep / 2-3 hours for sauce

 You will need: 

  • a 7-quart stock pot
  • chef’s knife
  • liquid and dry measuring utensils
  • various spoons and spatulas

Ingredients:

1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes

2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons of sugar

5 garlic cloves, minced

1/8 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon of dried oregano

1 tablespoon of dried basil

6 oz of tomato paste

16 oz of Marsala wine

1 medium onion (or 1/2 lg onion), diced

8 oz of beef stock

Salt & pepper

olive oil

1 lb of Italian Sausage (optional)

1/2 cup of heavy cream (optional)

Directions: 

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Once heated, add the onion and cook for 2 minutes. Then add the following: garlic, red pepper flakes, oregano, and basil. Saute for an additional 5 minutes.

Add the Marsala wine to deglaze the pan and let simmer for about 5 minutes. Then add the beef stock, balsamic vinegar, sugar, crushed tomatoes and the tomato paste. Add salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil to taste. Stir until well combined. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 2 hours. The longer it simmers the better it is.

Optional items ~

Sausage: When I made the lasagna, I added 1 pound of Italian sausage. I cooked the sausage first, then added the onions and other ingredients in order as listed above.

Heavy cream: I added this ingredient last to make the sauce a little creamier!

 I will post the lasagna and the braised short ribs recipes in posts to follow.

Pasta with Cauliflower, Bacon & Sage

AGAIN, another recipe from my Everyday Food magazine. It really is a great little magazine for quick recipe ideas (thanks, dad!). I would recommend a subscription if you are like me and can’t cook without a recipe.

I’m always looking for new recipes – I’m not very good and making up stuff. It’s just not my thing.

I love cauliflower and sage so I was very happy to give this one a try.

Rigatoni with Broccoli and Sausage / Everyday Food magazine

Servings:  5-6

Cook & Prep Time: 40 minutes tops (10 minutes for prepping and 30 minutes for cooking).

 You will need: 

  • A large deep skillet
  • bowl (to hold your cauliflower florets)
  • pasta pot
  • a garlic press (unless you want to mince your garlic)
  • various spoons and spatulas
  • chef’s knife

Ingredients:

3/4 lb of gemelli pasta (or other short pasta – I could not find gemelli so bow tie pasta wins the part). BTW, I used the entire pound of pasta.

1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets

5 slices of bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I bought an 8 oz pkg of bacon and I used the entire thing which is 8-9 slices).

3 tablespoons of unsalted butter

2 medium onions, small dice

1 clove of garlic, minced/pressed

2 tablespoons of fresh sage leaves, chopped

2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar (I used 3 since I used the entire pound of pasta)

salt and pepper

 Directions: 

Get out your pasta pot and your large deep-sided skillet / or large stock pot. Fill the pasta pot with water, add salt, get it to boiling.

Heat a little bit of olive oil in the deep skillet over medium-high heat and begin browning the bacon. Brown until crisp – about 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon move the bacon to a paper towel covered plate to drain.

Then, add to the skillet the butter, onions and garlic. Cook until softened (about 10 minutes).

Add the cauliflower, cover and cook until softened (about 12 minutes). Stir occasionally.

When the pasta water is ready, throw in the pasta of choice (you should be cooking the pasta while the cauliflower is cooking). 

When the cauliflower is tender, add the bacon and sage and cook for about 1 minute.

NOTE: Before draining the cooked pasta, reserve about a half cup of the pasta water – you will need this for the pasta sauce.

Add the well-drained pasta to your cauliflower mixture, stir in the vinegar and enough of the pasta water to make a thin sauce that coats the pasta.

Season with salt and pepper.

Side Dish:   Salad and good bread.

To serve, just dish into pasta bowls and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Rigatoni with Broccoli & Sausage

This is another recipe from my Everyday Food magazine. We love pasta dishes in our house and this one looked super easy and tasty.

How was it? Everyone was a clean-plater (even with the broccoli!). This is a great recipe for busy nights – it took a total of 30 minutes from start to finish.

Rigatoni with Broccoli and Sausage / Everyday Food magazine

Servings:  5-6

Cook & Prep Time: 30 minutes tops (15 minutes for prepping and 15 minutes for cooking).

 You will need: 

  • A large deep skillet
  • small bowl
  • whisk
  • pasta pot
  • a garlic press (unless you want to mince your garlic)
  • zester
  • juicer
  • various spoons and spatulas
  • chef’s knife

Ingredients:

1 lb of rigatoni pasta

4 cups of broccoli florets – I just bought one bag of pre-cut florets

2 cloves of garlic, minced/pressed

1 lb of Italian sausage

4 anchovy fillets, minced

1 lemon – 1 tablespoon of lemon zest & 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup of olive oil

salt and pepper

 Directions: 

 

Get out your pasta pot and your large deep-sided skillet / or large stock pot. Fill the pasta pot with water, add salt, get it to boiling.

Heat a little bit of olive oil in the deep skillet over medium-high heat and begin browning the Italian sausage. When browned, move to a paper towel covered plate to drain. Then, throw the sausage back into the skillet – keep on low until the pasta is ready. 

When the pasta water is ready, throw in the rigatoni (you should be cooking the pasta while the sausage is browning). Then with about 2-3 minutes left on the pasta, add the broccoli florets (yep, to the pasta pot with the rigatoni!).

NOTE: Before draining the cooked pasta and broccoli, reserve about a cup of the pasta water – you will need this for the pasta sauce.

While the pasta is cooking and the sausage is browning, make the sauce. Into your small bowl, whisk together the following ingredients: lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, pressed garlic, minced anchovies, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.

When the rigatoni and the broccoli are done, drain thoroughly and add to the skillet with the sausage. Next add the lemon-oil mixture and the pasta water (I used about 2/3 cup).

Remove the skillet from heat and stir until you have a nice thin sauce that coats the pasta.

 Side Dish:   Salad and good bread.

To serve, just dish into pasta bowls and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Leek-y Lemon-y Carbonara

This is a recipe from my everyday FOOD magazine. I have a go-to carbonara recipe that the entire family loves (read it here.)

But, I’m willing to try a new carbonara recipe – the title got me. Leeks and lemons?

I’m a gamer.

Pasta Carbonara with Leeks and Lemons / everyday FOOD magazine

Servings:  6-7

Cook & Prep Time: 30 minutes tops (10 minutes for prepping and 20 minutes for cooking).

 You will need: 

  • A large deep skillet
  • large bowl
  • whisk
  • pasta pot
  • a garlic press (unless you want to mince your garlic)
  • zester
  • juicer
  • various spoons and spatulas
  • chef’s knife
  • measuring utensils (dry and liquid)

Ingredients:

6 slices of bacon, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces

1 lb of rigatoni pasta (original recipe called for campanelle or orecchiette – what? I couldn’t find either, so I went for the rigatoni).

3 cloves of garlic, minced/pressed (I added this ingredient, carbonara without garlic didn’t seem right)

4 leeks, halved lengthwise and then thinly sliced (my store only had jumbo-sized leeks for some reason so I only used three)

2 large eggs

1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese (plus more for sprinkling)

1 tablespoon of lemon zest

1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup of flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

olive oil

salt and pepper

 Directions: 

 

Get out your pasta pot and your large deep-sided skillet / or large stock pot. Fill the pasta pot with water, add salt, get it to boiling.

Heat a little bit of olive oil in the deep skillet over medium-high heat and begin browning the bacon. When browned, move to a paper towel covered plate to drain. Also spoon out the fat until there is only about 2 tablespoons of fat remaining.

When the bacon is browned, throw the rigatoni into the pasta pot. The rigatoni takes about 11-12 minutes.

In the same skillet that you used to brown the bacon, add the sliced leeks and garlic. Season the leeks and garlic with salt and pepper and saute for about 10 minutes or until the leeks are a golden brown.

While the leeks are sauteing, in the large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice and parmesan cheese. Also quickly whisk  (so your eggs don’t cook) about 1/4 cup of the pasta water into the bowl.

When the pasta is done and the leeks are done, drain the pasta well and add to the large skillet (containing the leeks).  Also, add the bacon, parsley and the egg mixture and stir quickly to coat. Remove from heat.

Season with salt and pepper as needed.

 Side Dish:   Salad and good bread.

To serve, just dish into pasta bowls and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

This version of carbonara was very well received. Maddie likes the “original” version better, but still liked this one. All others seemed to like this one as well as the other.

This one is was just as easy to fix and I will be adding this carbonara recipe to the rotation!

Chili Mac on the Stove

I tried a new dish from my everyday FOOD magazine (September 2011 issue). It sounded quick and yummy.

I did switch out one of the ingredients – I replaced the corn with diced red and yellow peppers. The original recipe calls for 1 cup of corn (canned or frozen).

What you probably don’t know about me is that I can’t stand corn in anything. I love corn on the cob, but don’t put kernels of corn in my salsa, corn bread, etc.

What happened in my childhood to make me shudder at the thought of chunks of free-range corn floating in my food? I haven’t a clue.

Stovetop Chili Mac / everyday FOOD Magazine

Servings:  6-7

Cook & Prep Time: 30 minutes tops (10 minutes for prepping and 20 minutes for cooking).

 You will need: 

  • A large deep skillet
  • pasta pot
  • a garlic press (unless you want to mince your garlic)
  • various spoons and spatulas
  • chef’s knife
  • measuring utensils (dry and liquid)

Ingredients:

1 lb of ground beef

1 lb of rigatoni pasta

3 cloves of garlic, minced (or pressed)

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

1 3/4  teaspoons of ground cumin

1 red pepper, diced

1 yellow pepper, diced

1 small zucchini, diced

1 28-oz can of crushed tomatoes 

3/4 cup of sharp cheddar, shredded

olive oil

salt and pepper

 Directions: 

 

Get out your pasta pot and your large deep-sided skillet. I will fill my pasta pot with water, add salt, get it to boiling.

Heat some olive oil in a deep skillet over medium heat and saute the onion and garlic (3-5 minutes).

Increase heat to medium-high to brown the ground beef. Make sure and break up the beef while cooking.

When the beef is down browning, add the cumin, salt and pepper and cook for 1 minute. Next add the zucchini, red pepper and yellow pepper. Cook for about 2-3 minutes.

 Add the crushed tomatoes to the skillet. Let simmer for about 7-10 minutes.

Add the well-drained rigatoni to the skillet. Voila! It’s ready.

 

 Side Dish:   Salad and good bread.

To serve, dish out the chili mac into pasta bowls and garnish with cheddar cheese and sour cream.

What were the reviews of this dish? Well, I would say that they were lukewarm. The family thought it was tasty, but it didn’t wow ’em. 

.

Revisited ~ Broccolini & Ricotta Pasta

I originally posted this recipe on June 3, 2011.

And, I found the recipe bland and boring. So, I tried it again this week with a major tweak.

I did not use any ricotta (I guess I’ll have to give this dish another name).

I substituted the ricotta with a 12 oz tub of mascarpone cheese and a 4 oz serving of plain goat cheese.

Wow! What a difference – it was super creamy and had a really nice tangy flavor. I would really recommend trying this substitution in this dish.

Mama’s Broccolini & Ricotta Mascarpone Pasta/ Rachael Ray / 30-Minute Meals

Servings:  6-8

Cook & Prep Time: 30 minutes tops (10 minutes for prepping and 20 minutes for cooking).

 You will need: 

  • A large deep skillet
  • pasta pot
  • small sauce pan
  • a garlic press (unless you want to mince your garlic)
  • various spoons and spatulas
  • chef’s knife
  • measuring utensils (dry and liquid)

Ingredients:

1.5 lbs of boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces

1 lb of rigatoni

4 cloves of garlic, minced (or pressed)

2 bundles of broccolini florets, chopped

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg

15 oz tub of ricotta cheese – use full fat version or you will be sad. Trust me. (The original recipe calls for 16 oz, but they only sell ricotta in 15 oz tubs.) Use a 12 oz tub of mascarpone cheese along with a 4 oz serving of goat cheese instead

6-8 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves stripped and chopped

salt and pepper

1 cup of  water

Directions: 

 

Get out your pasta pot and your large deep-sided skillet. I will fill my pasta pot with water, add salt, get it to boiling and add the rigatoni. It takes about 13 minutes for rigatoni to cook.

NOTE: You will need a cup (8 oz) of the pasta water for later in the recipe. Also – I only used as much of this pasta water that I needed to get the creamy consistency that I wanted.  In this mascarpone version, I only used about 1/4 to 3/4 cup of the pasta water.

In the small sauce pan, heat the 8 oz of water to boiling, add the broccolini, lower heat to simmering, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat and begin browning the chicken breast pieces and the garlic. Cook 5-8 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.

Next, add the broccolini, the cooked & well-drained rigatoni, ricotta cheese, thyme, nutmeg, salt, pepper and the cup of pasta water to the large skillet with the chicken. Toss until thick and creamy.

Side Dish:   Salad and good bread.

Give this updated version a try!

Pasta & the Old West? Try this Recipe for Cowboy Spaghetti

Okay. Yes. I was totally lazy this week when I did my menu planning! I just flipped through my Rachael Ray cookbooks. Sometimes my week doesn’t allow me to peruse all of my cookbooks looking for inspiration. I’ve got three kids, people! (Just for the record, for those families with more than three, how in the heck do you do it?).

Okay, back to Cowboys and Spaghetti. I’ve made this recipe a couple times before with good results.  I’m surprised I haven’t posted it yet.

There’s an interesting twist in the spaghetti sauce – fire roasted tomatoes. I think you’ll like it. Oh, and did I mention it has bacon in it? According to the hubs, it can’t be bad if bacon is involved.

Cowboy Spaghetti / Rachael Ray / Express Lane Meals

Servings:  6-7

Cook & Prep Time: 30 minutes tops (10 minutes for prepping and 20 minutes for cooking).

 You will need: 

  • A large deep skillet
  • pasta pot
  • a garlic press (unless you want to mince your garlic)
  • various spoons and spatulas
  • chef’s knife
  • measuring utensils (dry and liquid)

Ingredients:

1 lb of ground sirloin

1 lb of spaghetti

4 cloves of garlic, minced (or pressed)

1 medium onion, finely chopped

4 scallions, trimmed and chopped

3 slices of smoky bacon, chopped

1 14-oz can of fire-roasted tomatoes (diced or crushed)

1 8-oz can of tomato sauce

2 teaspoons of hot sauce (this is optional)

1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce

8 oz of shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

olive oil

salt and pepper

 Directions: 

 

Get out your pasta pot and your large deep-sided skillet. Fill the  pasta pot with water, add salt, get it to boiling.

Heat some olive oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat and begin browning the bacon. When browned, move to a paper towel covered plate to drain.

In the same skillet brown the ground sirloin, crumble it as it browns. Once browned, add the onions and garlic, stirring into the meat. Cook for about 3 minutes to allow the onions to soften.

Now, add the spaghetti to the pasta pot and cook (about 8 minutes).

Season the meat with salt, pepper, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Cook for about 5 minutes and then add the bacontomato sauce, scallions and fire-roasted tomatoes.

Let simmer for another 5 minutes and then add the well-drained spaghetti to the skillet. The meal is ready! 

 Side Dish:   Salad and good bread.

To serve, place some cowboy spaghetti in a shallow pasta bowl and top with some of the sharp cheddar cheese.

This will become a family favorite in your house. Trust me 🙂

Here’s a Dish to Welcome Fall ~ Pumpkin Sausage Pasta

This is another highly requested dish in my house. It’s from my Rachael Ray 30-Minute Meal cookbook.

When I first saw it in the book, I thought, “Pureed pumpkin? Can that be good?” I like pumpkin bread, but I’m not a fan of pumpkin pie. It was risky, but I’m really glad I tried it!

It’s easy and everyone in the family loves it.

Pasta with Pumpkin and Sausage/ Rachael Ray / 30-Minute Meals

Servings:  6-7

Cook & Prep Time: 30 minutes tops (10 minutes for prepping and 20 minutes for cooking).

 You will need: 

  • A large deep skillet
  • pasta pot
  • a garlic press (unless you want to mince your garlic)
  • various spoons and spatulas
  • chef’s knife
  • measuring utensils (dry and liquid)

Ingredients:

1 lb of ground sweet Italian sausage (Tennessee Pride has a sausage product with sage in it – that’s what I buy for this recipe.)

1 lb of penne pasta

4 cloves of garlic, minced (or pressed)

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 bay leaf

4-6 leaves of fresh sage or 1 tablespoon of rubbed sage (this is what I use)

1 cup of white wine

14 oz of chicken stock

1 cup of canned pureed pumpkin (we put the remainder of the can on our dog’s food – he LOVES it).

1/2 cup of heavy cream

2 pinches (or 1/2 teaspoon) of ground cinnamon

1 pinch (or 1/4 teaspoon) of ground nutmeg

Parm or Romano cheese for sprinkling

olive oil

salt and pepper

 Directions: 

 

Get out your pasta pot and your large deep-sided skillet. I will fill my pasta pot with water, add salt, get it to boiling.

Heat some olive oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat and begin browning the Italian sausage. When browned, move to a paper towel covered plate to drain.

When the sausage is browned, throw the penne into the pasta pot. The penne takes about 11 minutes.

In the same skillet that you used to brown the sausage, add a drizzle of olive oil and saute the onions and garlic for about 5 minutes (till the onions are soft).

Now, add the sage, bay leaf and the white wine. Simmer for about 2-3 minutes.

Add the broth and pumpkin to the skillet. Use a whisk to combine and simmer for another 2-3 minutes. Add the sausage back the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the cream.

Season with the cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the well-drained penne to the skillet. Voila! It’s ready.

 Side Dish:   Salad and good bread.

You won’t be disappointed with this one!

Sesame Noodles with Baby Bok Choy & Roast Chicken

I have really missed cooking – I didn’t cook much on vacation and got out of my groove. Well, baby, I’m back in the groove now!

I got this really cool cookbook for Mother’s Day and just made my first recipe from it (see below).  This cookbook is a compilation of recipes inspired by Farmers and CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) offerings. We did the CSA thing last summer and we really enjoyed it.  Why not this summer? We were gone way too much. I’m definitely going to sign up for it next summer as we will be home more.

If you have never done it and you love fresh vegetables, herbs, or fruit, I would highly recommend signing up for a CSA share next summer.

What’s the name of this cookbook?  Eating Local by Janet Fletcher and distributed by Sur La Table (one of my favs!). At first I resisted using this cookbook in my regular meal planning because, of course, these recipes are heavily veggie-based. I LOVE veggies, but I was concerned about the two in my house that aren’t veggie fans.

However, I’m not sure what happened to me while I was on cooking sabbatical, but now I don’t care as much about that. They need to suck it up and start eating more vegetables!

I am making 3 dishes from this book this week, so you can get a good sampling of what this book has to offer.

Sesame Noodles with Baby Bok Choy & Roast Chicken / Eating Local

Servings:  6

Cook & Prep Time: 40 minutes tops (30 minutes for prepping and 10 minutes for cooking).

 You will need: 

  • A large deep skillet
  • pasta pot
  • chef’s knife
  • various spoons and spatulas
  • measuring utensils (dry and liquid)

Ingredients:

1 pre-roasted whole chicken from your grocer (deli section). You will need two cups of shredded roasted chicken (no skin).

1 lb of udon noodles (or chinese egg noodles)

1 lb of baby bok choy (6-8 pieces)

1 cup of green onions, both green and white parts, thinly sliced

1 cup of coarsely chopped cilantro (I forgot this ingredient!)

1/2 cup of coarsely chopped dry-roasted peanuts

1/3 cup of peanut oil

kosher or sea salt

2 tablespoons of fish sauce

2 teaspoons of Chinese chile oil (or hot oil)

1 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil

Directions: 

 

This recipe takes more prep time than cook time. 

    • Pull the roasted chicken from the bone and shred it. You need at least 2 cups.
    • Chop the 1 cup of cilantro
    • Thinly slice the green onions
    • Rough chop the peanuts

 Once the above is done, get out the  pasta pot, fill with water, season with salt, turn on high.  

Now, for the baby bok choy: separate the leaves with the rib intact and discard the core. Using a knife, separate the leaves from the ribs.

Now, tear the leaves in half lengthwise (okay, I used a knife as my tearing skills were of no use here.) Cut the ribs (the white part) crosswise into 1-inch pieces.

If the pasta water is ready, throw in the udon noodles (they take about 8-10 minutes to cook).

Once the noodles are in, heat all of the peanut oil  in a deep skillet over medium heat and add the bok choy and green onions and season with salt. Cover and cook 3-4 minutes, until just tender.

Okay, right before the noodles are done, I add the remaining ingredients to the bok choy –  cilantro (I would have added it at this point, but I forgot it!), peanuts, sesame oil, chicken, fish sauce and chile oil. (The directions say to add the noodles first and then add all of this stuff, but it’s easier to add the noodles last.) Stir for a couple of minutes (or until the noodles are done) so everything is warmed through.

Add the cooked udon noodles to the large skillet containing the bok choy mixture and stir until everything is well combined. It is ready to serve! 

Side Dish:   Salad and good bread.

This meal received rave reviews from everyone – 5 sporks! Some even went back for seconds.

Maybe it was because it was the first serious meal I’ve cooked since early June and they went into shock or maybe it was because this meal was very tasty. I’ll have to make it again to be sure.  I thought it was wonderful.

The hubs even suggested that this could be made for vegetarians and instead of chicken, I could add mushrooms and other veggies. He’s always thinkin’ (thinking of ways to incorporate mushrooms into everything).

I’m definitely going to work this into my monthly rotation (kind of like taco ring!).

Broccolini & Ricotta Pasta

I was flipping through my RR cookbook and this one caught my eye. I’ve never had broccolini so I thought I would give it shot.  It can’t be that different than regular broccoli, right?

I am a sucker for pasta dishes. I know, I know, the carbs! I try to buy the healthy pasta when I can to make the dish better.  But, let’s face it, pasta dishes are great, easy to heat up for leftovers and can serve way more people than the recipe says!

Mama’s Broccolini & Ricotta Pasta/ Rachael Ray / 30-Minute Meals

Servings:  6-8

Cook & Prep Time: 30 minutes tops (10 minutes for prepping and 20 minutes for cooking).

 You will need: 

  • A large deep skillet
  • pasta pot
  • small sauce pan
  • a garlic press (unless you want to mince your garlic)
  • various spoons and spatulas
  • chef’s knife
  • measuring utensils (dry and liquid)

Ingredients:

1.5 lbs of boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces

1 lb of rigatoni

4 cloves of garlic, minced (or pressed)

2 bundles of broccolini florets, chopped

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg

15 oz tub of ricotta cheese – use full fat version or you will be sad. Trust me. (The original recipe calls for 16 oz, but they only sell ricotta in 15 oz tubs.)

6-8 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves stripped and chopped

salt and pepper

1 cup of  water

Directions: 

 

Get out your pasta pot and your large deep-sided skillet. I will fill my pasta pot with water, add salt, get it to boiling and add the rigatoni. It takes about 13 minutes for rigatoni to cook.

NOTE: You will need a cup (8 oz) of the pasta water for later in the recipe.

In the small sauce pan, heat the 8 oz of water to boiling, add the broccolini, lower heat to simmering, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat and begin browning the chicken breast pieces and the garlic. Cook 5-8 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.

Next, add the broccolini, the cooked & well-drained rigatoni, ricotta cheese, thyme, nutmeg, salt, pepper and the cup of pasta water to the large skillet with the chicken. Toss until thick and creamy.

 

Side Dish:   Salad and good bread.

It was generally well-received, but I think everyone was being polite. It tasted really bland to me – I think it was all of that ricotta. It just doesn’t have a strong taste. Next time I make this I may use a blend of ricotta and basil goat cheese. Or, spice up the chicken a bit while I’m cooking it. I’m not sure with what though. I’ll have to give it some thought.

This recipe just needed an extra kick!

I’m definitely going to make it again, but with an addition of some sort. If you try it, let me know what you think! What would you add (if anything)?