Sausage and Fennel Seeds Pasta

This a delicious pasta dish that makes for a difference on a tomato sauce based dish. Packed with flavours and reheats well.

Ingredients:
1 box of rotinis
1 portion of sausage mix
2 sweet yunnan peppers
2 table spoon fennel seeds
1 cup vermouth
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 table spoon dried oregano
1 package of frozen spinach
Parmesan, to taste
Olive oil
ingredients

***

1. In a mortar and pestle, combine the yunnan peppers and the fennel seeds.
spices

2. Crush until the peppers are broken apart and the seeds start breaking up. Set aside.
spices2

3. In a large skillet, heat some of the olive oil. Add the pork and break any large clumps. Get your pasta started.
sausage1

4. When all of the pork is getting colour, add the fennel seeds and peppers. Cook for another 10 minutes or so, you want the meat to caramelize.
sausage2

5. Pour the vermouth and lemon juice over the meat. Add the lemon zest. Cook down until the liquid reduces by half.
liquids

6. Add the dried oregano and spinach. Cover so the spinach thaws faster.
spinash

7. Your pasta should be ready so drain, reserving some of the cooking water. Stir the thawed spinach in with the meat.
cooked

8. Stir in the cooked pasta. If it looks dry add some of the cooking water. Grate parmesan on top to taste.
pasta

9. Serve with more grated parmesan
serve2

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Orzo and tomatoes salad

A nice summer dish, Perfect for a potluck, for a pic-nic or to make easily carried lunches for the office.

Ingredients
500g orzo pasta
1 cup green peas (frozen)
3 bell peppers (varied colors)
1 bundle of green onions
1lb heirloom tomatoes (varied)
1/2 a bundle of parsley
1/4 cup grape seed oil
1/4 cup + 2 table spoon olive oil
2 table spoon red wine vinegar
1 table spoon dijon mustard
salt and pepper
water
ingredients

***

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Pour the pasta into the water, stirring to avoid clumping. Cook for 15 minutes or so.
pasta1

2. In the last 2-3 minutes add the frozen peas.
pasta2

3. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.
drain

4. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the 2 table spoon of olive oil and allow to cool fully.
cool

5. While the pasta is cooling, cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds. Grill until softened and nicely charred.
I kept the skin on for a bit of the smokiness, but you can remove it at this stage.
grill

6. Combine the grape seed oil, olive oil, red wine vinegar and dijon mustard.
dressing1

7. Shake well to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
dressing2

8. Thinly slice the green onions, both white and green parts and add to the pasta.
green-onions

9. Cut the peppers into a large dice. Add to the orzo.
peppers

10. Chop the parsley and throw it in with the rest.
parsley

11. Cut the tomatoes into quarters (or into eighth if they are on the larger side). Remove the core and add to the bowl.
tomatoes

12. Mix in the dressing in two times to coat evenly.
mix

13. Plate and eat up.
As a side dish would probably feed 10.
As a main meal made for 6 large meals.
plate

Meaty Macaroni

A classic, pantry diving kind of dish. Easy to scale up. You can also add cheese and finish in the oven.

Bonus game : guess which picture was taken as I sneezed!

Ingredients
1 lb lean ground beef
1-2 onions, diced
1 table spoon olive oil
1 small can of corn nibblets
1 small (20 oz) can of crushed tomatoes
1/2 box of macaroni
salt and pepper
ingredients

***

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta.
In a large skillet, cook the onions until translucent. I had a few shallots dying in my pantry so I used those.
onions

2. Add the beef, breaking it apart as it cooks, until no pink remains. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
cookmeat

3. Drain the corn and add to the skillet.
corn

4. Add the tomatoes (with the liquids) and bring to a boil.
tomatoes

5. Drain the pasta and add to the skillet. Mix well to coat.
mixall

6. Eat warm. This re-heats well also.
plate

Penne with Italian sausages & elephant garlic

This recipe came together trying to replicate something my brother and I once ate in a restaurant. This is fairly close to it.

I don’t make it often because elephant garlic is not always available. And it has a much milder flavor compared to regular garlic. You can do the recipe with regular garlic (swap the elephant garlic for 4 cloves of regular garlic) but the taste will be a lot more bitter.

Ingredients
Olive oil (probably less then ¼ cup in all)
2 italian sausages
1 sweet bell pepper – red, finely diced
1 swett bell pepper – yellow, finely diced
2 elephant garlic cloves, finely chopped
Penne
ingredients

***
1. Cook the Penne following the instructions on the box
2. In an other pan, put the sausages in cold water and bring to a boil. Skim and trow away the fat floating to the surface. This helps the sausage keep their shape once you slice them and removes some of the fat from them. And, if you do like me and freeze them it ensures that they are fully thawed before slicing.
sausage-water
3. Once the water reaches a boiling point turn down the heat and allow to simmer for 2 minutes or so then drain the sausages and slice. Put in a large skillet with a drop of olive oil.
sauge-slices
4. Once the sausages are cooked, remove from the skillet but leave the oil and rendered fat in the skillet.
cooked-sausage

5. Turn the heat to low and add the garlic. It will drink up the oil. stir around until it becomes flagrant. Be careful, it burns easily!
6. Add the peppers and stir for 2-3 minutes. If you want to deglaze with white wine, now would be the time to do it.
veggies

7. Stir the sausages back into the skillet.
veggies-plus-sausages
8. Add the penne and toss together. Drizzle with olive oil until all the pasta are glistening and wet.
add-pasta

9. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve.
plate

Spaghetti sauce

My mother’s spaghetti sauce recipe, to be precise. It’s thick, filled with vegetables and perfect for nights I don’t feel like cooking. I usually make this in the summer when the vegetables are cheap and plentiful, but I was out so here we are. I usually use two zucchini, but I had to do three grocery stores to find the one I have. You can add more vegetables (my mother adds mushrooms) or different meats, as you prefer.

A food processor is your friend to cut all the vegetables, or plan ahead and have lots of time if cutting by hand. Don’t be scared by the ingredient list! it all makes sense, I promise. I tend to err on the side of “more vegetables” so those quantities are quite adjustable.

Ingredients
1½ lbs ground beef
1 cup onion
4-5 cloves of garlic
Celery + Zucchini to taste
1 regular sized bottle of Heinz Chili Sauce
1 can Tomato Sauce (20oz)
1 can whole or diced tomatoes (20oz)
1 big can tomato juice
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup green bell pepper
2 to 4 tbsp HP sauce
2 tbsp Heinz 57 sauce
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
A few drops Tabasco
4 bay leaves
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp Sauge
1 tsp Thym
1/4 tsp Marjolaine
1/4 tsp Mixed spices
1 tbsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup red peppers (sweet or hot)

ingredients

Instructions
1. Heat some oil at the bottom of the pot and cook the onions and garlic until fragrant. Add the meat and cook until mostly browned.

2 Add the carrots and celery. Stir in for a minute or two.
meatcarrots

3. Add the Zucchini. Mix well and wait until they start turning soft before the next step.
zucchini

4. Add the bell peppers.
bell-peppers

5. Add the can of tomatoes (with the liquid)
tomatoes

6. Add the tomato sauce, tomato juice and the bottle of chili. Mix well.
juice

7. Add the spices. The sugar is to cancel the acidity of the canned tomatoes. Feel free to skip it if your tomatoes don’t have any acid after taste.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
spices

8. Shimmer on low heat for 3½ – 4 hours. Find something to watch on tv and stir the sauce during the commercial breaks (personal timing trick)

9. Divide into containers and freeze.
containers