Tuesday, August 19, 2008

When the stars make you drool ...

justa like Pasta Fazoool, that's A-moraaaaay. We love Dean Martin. (Have you seen the Armstrong flooring magazine ads? Makes you look twice. What a great campaign!)

We also love "Pasta Fazool" (aka Pasta e Fagioli). This is a great quick and dirty recipe - my favorite kind. I get a big bang for almost no effort in 15-20 minutes and leftovers to boot. The kids don't like the "fazool" (beans) part, so we leave that out and for tonight I threw in ready made frozen meatballs for a little protein and to make it a little heartier, of course counting out the total number of meatballs so each kid gets his appointed share of the loot at serving time. Kroger makes a frozen version of mirepoix (carrot, onion and celery) that's pre-chopped. When I have a few mintues more and none of the "Mommmmm, I'm hungry" (this from The Messy Eater), I use mild Eye-talian sausage. I have a great herb garden so I always have fresh rosemary and thyme that I send the boys out to pick.
Adapted from Rachel Ray's first cookbook, 30 Minute Meals.

"Pasta Fazool"

4 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons (2 turns around the pan) EVOO
3 small carrot, peeled and chopped *
2 ribs celery, chopped *
1 medium onion, chopped *
*I use a whole bag of frozen mirepoix (carrots, onions, celery) noted above for the previous 3 ingredients if I'm totally rushed. Just rinse under warm water to slightly defrost before adding to pan)
2 (4 to 6-inch) sprigs rosemary, left whole
Several (4 to 6-inch) sprigs thyme with several sprigs on it, left intact
3 cans (15 oz each) chicken broth
Coarse salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups uncooked ditalini noodles
Crumbled mild Italian sausage, removed from casing and browned (or frozen pre-cooked meatballs in a pinch!)
Grated Parmigiano or Romano, for the table
Crusty bread, for mopping

Heat garlic in olive oil over medium heat in a deep pot over medium-high heat. Add herb stems and vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. Lower heat, cover pot and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While this is cooking, in another pan, brown sausage over medium-high heat until cooked through. Add broth to the veggie pot, raise heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the ditalini and sausage (or meatballs - still frozen is ok). Reduce heat to a simmer and cook 10 minutes or until noodles are al dente.
Serve immediately with a generous amount of cheese and crusty bread for bowl mopping.

Feeds up to 4 (although with my junior crew, there are usually some leftovers for me the next day.)

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