Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tomato Cream Fettucini with Sausage

Here's what's cooking tonight!

This is a wonderfully satisfying dish, flavorful but not spicy. If you like more spice, try using hot Italian sausage.

I found a recipe a number of months ago on Simply Recipes for a dish similar to this one. It sounded pretty good as I read the ingredients, so I filed it away to try it. The original recipe calls for two cans of tomatoes and 1 cup of cream. I wanted a more creamy sauce, so I used 2 cups of cream and two cans of tomatoes. The original also called for 3/4 lb. of pasta, but since I feed 4 boys, 3 of them teenagers, I opted for a full pound. Another change I made is the seasonings, I omitted the shallots and sage, adding basil instead. In addition, I used Italian style tomatoes, which I normally do not purchase. I had them on hand because I sent my son to use a coupon and I figured they would come in handy sometime. It turned out very tasty in this recipe and I might have to make them a regular item in my food storage. The best thing about this recipe is the simplicity; it has very few ingredients. It's also fairly quick to prepare and easy to cook.

Here's the details:

  • 1 lb. fettuccine
  • 1 package mild Italian sausage
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 15-oz. cans Italian style diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tsp. basil
  • 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
Cook fettuccine in a large pot according to package directions, making sure not to overcook.

Cut skins from sausage links and place meat in medium-sized skillet along with garlic. Cook sausage and garlic until done, breaking up sausage while cooking. Add tomatoes and simmer 5 minutes. Add cream and basil. Simmer an additional 15 minutes; sauce will become thinner when cooking.

Drain pasta and return to pot. After sauce finishes simmering, remove from heat. Sprinkle grated cheese over pasta and pour hot sauce over the top. Stir until pasta is well coated and let sit 5 minutes. Stir once more and transfer to serving dish. If desired, add more grated cheese on top or pass grated cheese when serving.

Bon appetite!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Brandon Strikes Again!!

Poor Brandon!! This photo from a couple of months ago shows Brandon and Rudy. If you look at Brandon's cheek, you can see the very beginnings of a nasty encounter with poison oak. He ended up being a pretty miserable little boy for over a week. This rash blistered up and turned into scabs. He also had some swipes on his arms. The worst part was the rash that covered his body from head to toe and itched like mad.

I was sitting up with him for two nights. He was alternating crying because Benadryl tastes bad and because he was itching, which is worse? He couldn't decide, the itching or the Benadryl. Eventually the itching won out and he took the medicine, then he could finally sleep. Brandon loves making forts and hideouts in the woods, but we need to check more carefully before he ventures out to see whether he's going to be encountering more of this yucky stuff.

So the real story happened last Friday: We have an old heat pump that was installed in 1991, so it could really die any time, though it's been working very well since we bought the house nearly 2 years ago. There are lots of incentives right now to purchase a new one, so we decided to look into it, just to get more information.

I had an appointment to get a quote on Friday morning. The guy came to the door and knocked. I didn't hear the knock since we have a big house and I was down in the office. Brandon was happy to answer the door, he's not a bit shy and loves to hold conversations. So, the heating guy asked Brandon to get his Mom, and here was Brandon's response:

"My Mom can't come to the door today. She's locked in the dungeon. We are not even allowed to give her bread and water, but she can have all the rats she wants to eat."

Luckily, the heating guy thought this was the funniest thing he had ever heard and thought Brandon was one of the brightest kids he's ever met. I think Brandon needs to write a book to put that superb imagination to good use!

My First Venture into Pasta Making

I have had a Kitchenaid mixer for many years and use it constantly for everything from breads to cakes, frostings to cookies, and anything else you can think of. My hubby bought me the pasta maker attachment set a few years ago and I've never broken it out of the box. It has been cold and rainy here, which made me crave those thick homemade noodles in a nice hearty soup. I never purchase that type of pasta in the stores because I feed 4 boys, so the cost is just prohibitive. I am also a thrifty gal, so I buy only things that are on sale for a great price and keep a good food storage on hand, including dozens of bags of pasta I picked up for $.50 each.

This day, I just got the kick in the pants I needed to break out the pasta maker because I just couldn't get those noodles out of my head.

Making pasta was much easier than I thought. I just followed the basic egg pasta recipe that came in the Kitchenaid booklet along with my pasta attachments. The ingredients are simply egg, salt, flour, and water. It's so easy and cleanup isn't bad. I cut my noodles into fairly short lengths and tossed them with a big of flour so they wouldn't stick together

Here is my soup, it turned out exactly like I thought and was a huge hit with the family.

  • 1 package mild Italian sausage (you can use hot if you prefer)
  • 1 medium onion chopped as desired
  • 2-4 stalks celery, sliced
  • 2-4 carrots cut into chunks (I used baby carrots halved lengthwise)
  • 3 Tbsp good quality beef base
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (I used petite diced)
  • 1 Tbsp basil flakes
  • 1/2 batch of homemade pasta (probably 2 cups or so)
Brown sausage and onions together and drain grease. Add beef base, celery, carrot, water, tomatoes and basil. Simmer until veggies are tender. Add pasta and cook just a few minutes, until pasta is done.

I love to serve this with my version of Red Lobster's Cheddar Bay biscuits or homemade, hot crunchy French bread. (Recipe to follow in a future post.)