easy weeknight meals
The first one is from Chef Javier Ramirez of La Natural in Miami, Florida for Paccheri Pasta with Peas, Peperoncino and Pecorino. If you can’t locate paccheri, as I couldn’t, the recipe suggests mezzi rigatoni. You will also need 16 ounces of frozen peas, extra virgin olive oil, crushed red pepper or Italian peperoncino flakes, Maldon salt, freshly grated pecorino Romano cheese and flat leaf parsley. Although I had packaged, grated pecorino Romano, for this dish I opted to purchase a wedge. While the pasta water boiled, I measured out my extra virgin olive oil, crushed red pepper and Fleur de Sel (didn’t have Maldon). A few minutes before the pasta was done, the frozen peas were added to the pasta water. Before draining the pasta, remove one cup of pasta water. I drained the pasta and placed it back in the pot. I gently drizzled in the flavored oil and a pinch of salt and mixed thoroughly. For serving, place a portion in a bowl and top with freshly grated pecorino, minced parsley and an extra drizzle of olive oil.
What a lovely dish. The pasta was light tasting, just enough heat from the crushed red pepper and enough liquid remained after draining to create a delicate sauce. This was a terrific weeknight supper.
Also, from The Journal and the “Slow Food Fast” column, comes a hearty soup from Chef Loryn Nalic for Speedy Bean Soup with Smoked Sausage. This recipe says you can use either summer sausage or kielbasa; I chose kielbasa. I purchased my kielbasa at Palmer’s Quality Meats in Neptune City, NJ made by Nello’s Specialty Meats. For the soup you’ll also need olive oil, an onion, carrots, green bell pepper, 3 cloves of garlic, kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, tomato paste, canned pinto beans, chicken, vegetable stock or water, a bay leaf, all-purpose flour, paprika, minced parsley (optional), crusty bread, strained yogurt or sour cream for serving, juice of 1/2 lemon and lemon wedges for serving. This is a chop and dump recipe; everything is done in one pot. The onions, carrots, pepper and garlic are sweated in olive oil until softened. I cleared a spot in the pan to brown the tomato paste before adding the paprika and flour. The flour is cooked for approximately 3 minutes or until browned. Next in is the stock, beans, bay leaf and sausage. Twenty to thirty minutes is all that is needed for the flavors to meld together. Adjust the salt and add lemon juice to taste. A bit of chopped parsley on top and hunks of crusty bread on the side, voilà dinner is ready.
This was a wonderful, hearty soup. Although I cut my kielbasa into half-moon shapes, my husband suggested quarters. Overall, the soup had a wonderful flavor from the vegetables and kielbasa. It was a great supper to come home to after a day of babysitting.
The last new recipe I tried this week was a turkey chili recipe that appeared in “Soup’s On, The New York Times Cooking supplement on January 29, 2023. This recipe is from Pierre Franey who wrote The Time’s “60 Minute Gourmet” column. This is another one pot recipe. I recommend chopping the vegetables and measuring the spices ahead and place everything in a large bowl before you begin cooking. This prep work took me approximately 10 minutes. Once this is done, then can starting making the chili.
For the recipe you’ll need olive oil, ground turkey (white and dark meat combined), onions, fresh garlic, sweet red pepper, celery, jalapeño, oregano (fresh or dried), bay leaves, chili powder, ground cumin, can of diced tomatoes, chicken broth, salt, pepper, red kidney beans, cheddar cheese, sour cream (optional), sliced lime (optional) and green onions (optional).
The recipe has you browning the meat for five minutes followed by adding the onions, garlic, red pepper, celery, jalapeño, oregano, bay leaves, chili powder and cumin. Again, five minutes of cooking followed by adding the tomatoes, broth, salt and pepper. The pot is brought to a boil then reduced to a simmer for 15 minutes of cooking. Last in are the beans which are heated for an additional 10 minutes. To serve, place in bowls and top with cheddar cheese, sour cream, lime wedges and chopped scallions.
This was another one pot, hearty meal. In fact, I made it before going to work on Friday afternoon. The blend of flavors was wonderful. I used stock in place of broth and Jersey Fresh Fattoria Fresca Crushed Tomatoes found at my local ShopRite. Although I have another turkey chili recipe, I found this recipe had more complexity based on the ingredients. Delicious!
Paccheri Pasta With Peas, Peperoncino and Pecorino
Kitty Greenwald, The Wall Street Journal
October 22-23, 2022
Adapted from Chef Javier Ramirez
La Natural, Miami, FL
Total Time: 30 minutes
1-pound paccheri or mezzi rigatoni
16 ounces frozen peas
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ tablespoon crushed red pepper or Italian peperoncino flakes (optional)
2 ounces pecorino Romano, grated
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, minced
Donna’s Note: The Chef Javier Ramirez suggests an extra drizzle of extra virgin olive oil before serving.
Speedy Bean Soup with Smoked Sausage
Chef Loryn Nalic
Balkan Treat Box, Webster Groves, MO
The Wall Street Journal,” Slow Food Fast,”
January 23-24, 2021
By Kitty Greenwald
Total time: 30 minutes
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 medium carrots, finely diced
½ green bell pepper, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
9 ounces smoked beef sausage, such as summer sausage or kielbasa, casings removed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans, drained
4-6 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock or water
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons paprika
2 tablespoons minced parsley (optional)
Sliced crusty bread, for serving
Strained yogurt or sour cream for serving
Juice of ½ lemon, plus lemon wedges for serving
By Pierre Franey
The New York Times, “60-Minute Gourmet,”
November 25, 1992 and
“Soups On” The New York Times Supplement
Sunday, January 29, 2023
Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 6 to 8
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pounds ground turkey, white and dark meat combined
2 cups coarsely chopped onions
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 large sweet red pepper, cored, deveined and coarsely chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 jalapeño, cored, deveined and finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped, or 1 tablespoon dried
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 cups canned diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth, fresh or canned
Salt and black pepper
2 (15-ounce) cans red kidney beans, drained
2 cups shredded Cheddar
1 cup sour cream (optional)
Sliced lime, for garnish (optional)
Donna’s Notes: I chopped all the vegetables, spices and bay leaf and placed in a large bowl; this alone took about 10 minutes. However, I was able to just dump the contents once the turkey had browned.
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A former teacher, shop-a-holic, empty-nester redefining quick, family approved dinners.