When I meal plan, I have just a few simple criteria in mind for our dinners for the week. Whatever it is I am going to make, (especially on days I am commuting from the city) the dishes have to be super good, square, and on the easier side when it comes to preparation. I save the labor intensive meals for Sunday.
Pretty regularly we sit together as a family and really take time to enjoy it. Family meals are important to me. I think it’s a basic component to family life that needs to be instilled more in the household. As we go through life at what feels like warp speed, it is nice to gather, regroup and do our best to have a civilized family dinner. Not always the case, but we put our best foot forward.
With six year old twins, we aren’t having cocktails, apps and three course dinners. No no no. This is a twenty minute experience, lots of “sit down please”, “you are going to spill your drink”, “please use a utensil” “take ten more bites” “stop touching your sister” “don’t feed the puppy she is going to shit all over the place”. Shoot me now. We do our best, right? Eating together is my favorite part of the day, along with my 5 am “me” time when I am the only one up, it’s silent and I can slam a couple cups of coffee before the freaks rise.
When I was in college, my roommates and I would make dinner (lots of sodium, we were all a bit puffier back then) but we would actually sit together and enjoy it. I loved that. We would all go around and talk about our highs and our lows for the day. For some of us, our high was actually being high, and lows like the time my linguistics teacher told me in the thickest Japanese accent, “Michelle, you not stupid, you smart girl.” But I loved that we used to take the time and do that. Felt a little bit like home, but I wasn’t home, I was LIVING IT UP MAN! I was driving my moms sweet mini van through the side yard of our college house heading off to class. Great friggin time. Took it for granted. Being a grown up is soooo much harder, but amazing.
This week I decided to feature a pasta dish inspired by my friend’s family. We would often order it when we would visit their restaurant. Their version was a rigatoni in vodka sauce with peas and proscuitto. My version calls for linguini and sausage or whatever you have on hand.
This recipe is my own. Minus the sausage, I had every ingredient. It took me 30 minutes, start to finish, and my family loved it. From my kitchen to your mouth, I give you pasta with sausage and peas. Hope you like it.
1 lb pasta
1 lb bulk Italian sausage
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 sm. can tomato sauce
1 squirt tomato paste (hate that word)
2 C. frozen peas
2-3 Tbsp. heavy cream
1 tbsp. butter (because I was feeling crazy)
1 cup grated cheese (I used pecorino romano)
Herbs – 1 Tbsp. of oregano. If I had fresh basil or Italian parsley I would have used that. Again, it all kind of depends on what is accessible.
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Heat olive oil over medium heat and then add the diced onion. Saute the onion for 5 minutes or so and then add the chopped garlic. Just for 1 minute. Be careful not to burn it. Burnt garlic is the pits. It can turn bitter tasting.
Add the sausage and brown it. Break it up with the back of your wooden spoon. It will take about 8-10 minutes. While this is all going on you can begin boiling a pot of water for the pasta. My father in law surprised me one day with a pasta and strainer combination pot. It is my favorite pot for sure.
Add the tomato sauce. I also added a “squirt” of the paste as well to thicken it up just a pinch. Herbs can be tossed in at this point.
This is where you can add the butter if you are feeling wild. I feel like I add a little butter to every pasta dish. Add the cream and some of your grated cheese.
Season with salt and pepper and toss in the peas. Heat the peas through and toss your pasta in with the sauce.
Top with grated Pecorino and enjoy. It is even friggin better the next day.