bowtie pasta with sweet sausage & tomatoes

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This is one of my favorite, simple dinner recipes. It is yummy and hearty enough for a Sunday meal, but also quick and easy enough for a weeknight. Also, leftovers remain amazingly delicious! (Coming from someone who is generally not a huge fan of leftovers, that is high praise.)

This recipe actually originates from my parent’s neighbor’s friend — I know, it’s already passed through quite a few hands! I have not done much to adapt it as it really is pretty perfect as is. So, I give credit to my mom, my neighbors, and their friend for sharing this recipe – and now I will share it with you! Enjoy!

bowtie pasta with sweet sausage & tomatoes

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1 28-oz. can plum tomatoes
  • 1 cup heavy cream (or half & half)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
  • Pecorino romano cheese, grated
  • 1 lb. farfalle pasta

Method

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Remove casings from sausage and add to skillet along with crushed red pepper. With a wooden spoon, break up sausage into bite-sized pieces. Cook over medium heat until browned. Add onion and garlic, cook 8-10 minutes until tender.

Coarsely chop the canned plum tomatoes and add to the skillet with the juices from the can. Add cream and salt. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened (~5-10 minutes).

Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil and cook pasta, al dente. Drain pasta and combine with thickened sauce (I like to transfer the pasta over to the skillet of sauce with a slotted spoon to get some of the starchy water in to thicken the sauce!). Top with chopped basil and pecorino romano to taste.

Recipe adapted from my parent’s neighbor’s friend

How I eat it: with A LOT of grated cheese (see below!)

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sweet & spicy ribs with potato wedges

ribs & potatoes

I know, I know — I did it again.  This time it wasn’t just a few months since I’ve posted, but almost a year! It’s not that I didn’t want to, but this past year has been crazy! If you remember this post, you remember that I made some big life changes last spring.  I can now say that I successfully completed my first year of my Ph.D. at Stony Brook, I celebrated one year with both my kitty and my new car (still so in love with both), AND some more big news — I got engaged in January! Most of you who read this blog probably know this already since I totally took over Facebook with pictures and posts about the big day. But, basically, Mike proposed in the city on my birthday weekend and everything was as perfect as could be. I have to share one picture (that most of you have seen) just because this was the best moment of my life so far…

the best moment of my life

Anyway, with all the craziness of school and starting to wedding plan, I unfortunately have barely had time to cook anything exciting.  This led me to realize that not cooking  = stress levels through the roof.  Spending half a day on the weekends preparing a fantastic dinner for my fiancé (still so fun/weird to say!), my family, or some friends is just one of the most fun and relaxing things in the world.  This year has forced me to see that I really need to make time for myself despite how busy life can get. Starting now, I am doing my best to be more committed to cooking (and I guess exercise since a girl’s gotta fit into her wedding dress!)

This past weekend it finally felt like summer, so I took Saturday to enjoy myself and do all my favorite summery things .  I spent the morning at the farmer’s market, where my best find was bottled cold brew coffee from Gentle Brew Coffee Roasters. As you can see, I re-used the bottle to hold some fresh flowers and I just find it to be adorable.  I then spent the afternoon preparing this recipe for sweet and spicy ribs that I found in June’s Bon Appetit. What says summer more than BBQ ribs!?  We enjoyed this with roasted potato wedges and my Oma’s famous cucumber salad (recipe not included here because it deserves its own post). Pair this with your favorite summer cocktail (mine is gin & tonic) and surround yourself with your favorite people and chow down outside and relax — that is what my family and I did!

Ingredients

sweet & spicy ribs

  • 2 St. Louis style ribs
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup smoked paprika
  • 2 Tbsp. cayenne pepper (cut this in half if you’re not a huge fan of spice!)
  • 2 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp. Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

roasted potato wedges 

  • large potatoes (I used 5 which generously served 3 people)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

sugar & spiceribs are rubbed

Method

For the ribs:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Combine brown sugar, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and salt in small bowl and set aside 1/4 cup of the spice mixture.  Rub the ribs with the remaining spice mixture.  Wrap the ribs tightly in two sheets of aluminum foil and place on baking sheet.  Bake 2-3 hours, until tender. Let cool. Remove ribs from foil and save the juices by pouring into a heat proof measuring cup/bowl.

Melt butter in medium sauce pan until foaming and just starts to brown (do not burn).  Add 1/4-cup reserved spices and juices from baking the ribs. Simmer until reduced by a third.  Remove from heat and stir in apple cider vinegar.

Prepare the grill on medium high heat and oil the grate. Grill ribs, basting with sauce and turning occasionally, until charred in spots (about 5-10 minutes).  Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice between ribs and serve with remaining sauce.

Ribs can be baked one day ahead and stored in the fridge.  They should be brought to room temperature and grilled before serving.

For the potatoes:

Slice the potatoes into thin wedges. Toss in a bowl with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Roast at 425 for 30-45 minutes, until golden brown. (After the ribs came out of the oven, I upped the temperature and tossed these babies in — the timing was perfect!)  Serve right out of the oven topped with parmesan and chopped parsley.

taters   ribs on the grilllll

Rib recipe adapted from Bon Appetit

How I eat it: with a Tanqueray and tonic outside on the porch

Enjoy! And I promise to be back soon with more recipes 🙂

the meal