Pasta, pasta everywhere, and not a drop of room left on the stove! All six burners were cooking with gas as the Family Cooking Group tackled pasta sauces in their first cooking session after summer vacation.
In fact, we were so busy making sauces and running back and forth to the herb garden for more fresh basil, parsley and mint, that I forgot to take photos while we were cooking!
With our pasta boiling away, we easily created four sauces, two of which were suggested by our readers:
- Penne bruschetta, with tomatoes, garlic and basil — gutsy and full-flavored
- Sausage, pepper and onion — like a great Italian sandwich, without the bread
- Lemon cream with asparagus — elegant and delicate
- Chicken lo mein — spaghetti with a Chinese twist
Then, with time to spare and some odds and ends of squiggly pastas in the "junk jar", we decided to improvise one more sauce. Actually, it was the kids who invented this, by rummaging through the fridge and pantry, tasting and testing. They named it "The Autumn Leftovers", and it's a winner.
While we're relaxing over dinner, I always ask the group what they'd like to cook the next time. In November I want to teach latkes, and maybe have a bit of a dreidl game just for fun (we always play with chocolate coins, so it's kind of dessert, too). But for October's menu, they've chosen meatloaf. And apples or pears.
Meatloaf with an apple side dish? Or maybe meatloaf with apples inside. And, you know me... I'm thinking we should make two different kinds of meatloaf, done in mini size so they'll cook in the time we have.
Favorite recipes, anyone?
THE AUTUMN LEFTOVERS
1/2 lb pasta of your choice: rotini, gemelli, macaroni, or a mix from your pasta "junk jar"
A few tsps of olive oil
2-3 roasted piquillo peppers, or any roasted red peppers from a jar
A handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped
2-3 Tbsp goat cheese
2-3 Tbsp feta cheese
Zest and juice of one lemon
2 tsp fresh mint, roughly chopped
1-2 Tbsp pine nuts
A few Tbsp fresh chopped parsley
1/2 lb fresh mozzarella, cubed
A few Tbsp bruschetta topping, or fresh chopped tomatoes, or roasted tomatoes with a bit of the roasting oil
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil, and add the peppers and basil. Stir for one minute, and add the goat cheese and feta. When the cheese begins to melt, add lemon zest and juice, mint, pine nuts and parsley. Stir for 2-3 minutes, then add the mozzarella and bruschetta topping or tomatoes. Stir for one minute, then add the cooked pasta. Continue stirring until the cheeses are melted and everything is well combined. Serve hot.