I am never more pleased and satisfied than when I make a great meal for the people I love … except when I make a great meal WITH the people I love.
The other night, my son Dan and I had the opportunity to collaborate on a delicious pasta dish I recreated from one served at a local Italian eatery. While I prepared the vegetables, Dan sautéed the garlic and onions and then painstakingly broke down the sausages into lovely little ground meat-type bites, which is perfect for this dish.
Over glasses of red wine, we talked about the elements of the recipe … about incorporating a little kick of jalapeno pepper, which we both love; how much wine and cream to add; my delight in using orecchiette (little ear pasta) but how long it takes to cook.
And then when we plated the pasta and sat down to eat, I felt such a lovely sense of unity with Dan – one of many, many moments of thankfulness for the blessing of creating together, being together. We watched the full moon rise, bellies satisfied and hearts full. A special memory imprinted us that night.
It’s amazing that a little time together in the kitchen elicits such feelings for me. I suppose it’s in my genes as my family has communed in this way for generations. Some of my best memories can be traced back to being in the kitchen with my grandmother … my mother … my father-in-law … my mother-in-law … my sisters … my sons … my friends. Clear and delicious pictures of great fun and intimate community come with each remembrance.
Try cooking with others and try this recipe. I think you’ll love both.
1½ cups dry orecchiette, cooked al dente in salted water
½ cup pasta water reserved upon draining
1 T olive oil
4 – 5 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped onions
Garlic & onion powders
3 – 4 sweet Italian sausages, casings removed
6 – 8 white mushrooms, sliced or chunked
½ medium red bell pepper, diced
½ small jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
¼ cup dry white wine
¼ cup half & half
While the orecchiette cooks, heat oil in a large saucepan. Add garlic, onions and good dashes of garlic and onion powders, and sauté for 5 minutes.
Add sausage, break into bite-sized pieces, and brown at medium heat, until meat just loses it’s pink color, then add all the vegetables and sauté mixture for approximately 5 minutes.
Add wine and pasta water, reduce to medium low heat and simmer for 5 – 7 minutes or until vegetables are just tender. Mix in half & half.
Add the cooked, drained orecchiette to sauce. Toss and heat through.
Serve in wide bowls with freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese on top.
Give thanks for the opportunity to share a delicious meal with people you love and enjoy!
Eat well. Be happy.