Author’s Preface: Hello readers! (all five of you) I had a good run there – 11 whole weeks without missing an entry. But, as you probably have noticed, things came to a screeching halt after Easter. It’s not that I stopped cooking after the great Bunny Cake of 2012, it’s just that I ran out of time to blog about it! But fear not, the semester is now over. I’ve regained my free time and Leslie Cooked This is back in action!
One thing that this blog doesn’t convey very well is that Mark and I really are a team in the kitchen. We each experiment on our own – and I blog about many of these solo ventures – but in the regular day-to-day, we try to cook together as much as possible. We even genuinely enjoy grocery shopping together. Yes, we’re those weird people who see grocery shopping as a date.
So it was a nice treat on Saturday when Mark came home early from shooting with Newtown Radio and we were able to cook dinner together. I was in the mood for pasta, so we settled on Orecchiette with Turkey Sausage and Broccoli Rabe from Everyday Italian by Food Network “star” Giada De Laurentiis. Everyday Italian is one of my “go-to” cookbooks. It might not be authentic Italian, but her recipes are solid choices for a last-minute plan.
After picking up groceries, we were ready to go. Mark immediately started on the garlic bread. We were tempted to go with the delicious, buttery, unhealthy frozen variety. But in the end, we took the responsible option and made it with a fresh loaf of bread, garlic and oil:
Meanwhile, I worked on doing the prep work for the pasta – rinsing broccoli rabe, boiling water and browning the sausage.
We did make a few changes to the recipe. We didn’t feel like splurging on fresh orecchiette, so we went with Pipettes instead. And we omitted the red pepper flakes. Any time Giada calls for red pepper flakes, the dish seems to be overpowered by it. I also left out some of the broccoli rabe. Giada called for two bunches, but I have a feeling that my bunches were way bigger than whatever she buys – you can see the mound of greens below:
The pasta was cooked in the same boiling water that was used to blanch the broccoli rabe, which really cut back on the cooking time. Once the pasta was ready to go, it was just a matter of throwing the ingredients together in a bowl. Dinner was ready in 30 minutes. And the garlic bread was just getting crispy as we plated the first bowls. Perfect timing.
In honor of our Saturday night in, we picked up a bottle of Apothic Red, Winemaker’s Blend. In the wine department, we have a general idea of what we like, but we’re still swayed by the look of the bottle and label.
Dinner was good – not great – but good. We agreed we prefer Giada’s turkey sausage and farfalle recipe to this one, but this was a nice change. Leaving out the red pepper flakes was a good idea because the sausage was pretty spicy on its own. And the reduced broccoli rabe was also a good call. Even after leaving several cups out of the final mix, it was still a bit heavy on the broccoli. I didn’t mind it, but I would have liked more of a balance. The wine was a nice addition (although a little lighter than we prefer) and made us both a little giggly. Mark got me started when he pointed out that the heel of our garlic bread looked like an eel:
We laughed at this. A heel eel. Yup, that’s what life with Mark and Leslie is like.
After dinner, we set into our usual post-meal roles. Mark started on the dishes, while I stored the remaining food. As I filled a plastic container with pasta, I was struck by how much was left over. “Wow.” I remarked, “We didn’t eat much.” As I walked towards the table (where I had left the container lid), I opened my mouth to say “We’ll have plenty of leftovers for tomorrow,” but instead I dropped the bowl and spilled about half of the remaining pasta all over the dirty table – and Mark’s iPhone. Luckily, Mark was quick enough to save his phone and grab a picture of the resulting mess:
Including a few stray pieces on the chair:
I was ready to kick myself, but Mark was laughing so hard that I couldn’t stay angry for long. It’s times like those that I really appreciate having a co-chef to keep things in perspective. So much for ample leftovers, huh?