Category Archives: Recipe

Sunday Pasta: Rigatoni with Sausage Ragu

Sunday Pasta: Rigatoni with Sausage Ragu

I’ve always been a pasta girl. My favorite meal growing up was rigatoni in red sauce. With a glass of milk. Sometimes my mom added chicken to the rigatoni, creating “chicken and pasta” and my most requested dinner dish ever. Mom’s pasta masterpiece.

Wanting to recreate it recently, I asked her about how it was made and she just laughed. No recipe. Sauce out of a jar of course. But the good kind. Never Prego. Maybe she baked the chicken? And then just added it to the pot of pasta and sauce? As few dishes to wash later as possible. Possibly every time she made it, it was a little different, she said. But I didn’t notice. Cause I loved rigatoni and red sauce. Today I love that it seemed so effortless to her. I’m sure it wasn’t. My mom the most dedicated and hard working woman…she taught me what hustle is all about. And how to love it too. She didn’t always have time or energy to make dinner (nor should she), but when she did, and it happened to be one of my favorite meals, I know she loved the work.

Sunday Pasta: Rigatoni with Sausage Ragu

I’m pretty skilled in the 10-minute Sunday Pasta. Just need butter, cheese, parm, and angel hair which only takes 3 minutes to cook. I’ve been breaking this out a lot recently, in between thai/deli/pizza/burger takeout orders…to remind myself that I am a real person who eats real food when I’m not at work. (At least work feeds me good, real food, right?)

Well this Sunday I had time. To grocery shop. To let my sauce simmer. To chop an onion. To drink a great glass a wine and dance around to LFO while cooking. To taste as I was cooking. To actually eat with someone else. To do all the dishes. Ok, I didn’t make the grilled caesar salad to go along with it or sit at a real table to eat. But just like mom, I can’t do it all, but I can absolutely squeeze in time for my favorite meal, and a little feel-good, during a crazy week.

Sunday Pasta: Rigatoni with Sausage Ragu

Since we never figured out the whole chicken part of “chicken and pasta” I added a mild Italian sausage instead. I probably wouldn’t have liked this when I was five. But I’m way into it at 27.

Sunday Pasta: Rigatoni With Sausage Ragu

In a dutch oven, sauté onion and garlic until onion softens. Add grated carrot. Open the casings of the sausage – I used mild Italian pork sausage – and satué until brown. Add herbs like rosemary and thyme + salt and pepper. When sausage is browned, add several cans of whole peel tomatoes to the pot. You could cook this all afternoon or just 30 minutes until the tomatoes have broken down. Add a splash of red wine and heavy cream. Toss with cooked rigatoni and grate fresh parm on top.

Sunday Pasta: Summer Tomato & Burrata Fettuccine

Sunday Pasta: Summer Tomato & Burrata Fettuccine

This one’s for the tomatoes. The ones that are so ripe right now they can be popped in your mouth whole or bit into like an apple. Even though I’ve already bought two new pairs of boots and a couple new sweaters, these tomatoes make me realize I want to slow summer down. Don’t forget to go to the market this Sunday. What haven’t I made yet? How can I savor these longer? The taste of late sunsets, feeling carefree, getting your hands dirty, everyday celebration.

Sunday Pasta: Summer Tomato & Burrata Fettuccine

This is an easy one….

Summer Tomato & Burrata Fettuccine

In a large pan, sauté tomatoes in olive oil and garlic until blistered. Make fettuccine. Toss the fettuccine and some pasta water with the tomatoes. Add ribbons of fresh basil. Top with burrata. Stir together. Serve with rosé and savor.

Sunday Pasta: Summer Tomato & Burrata Fettuccine

Sunday Pasta: Tomato and Olive Oil – on the Roof

Sunday Pasta: Tomato and Olive OilSunday pasta has taken on new meaning this summer. It’s still my chance to cook, unwind, and zone out at the end of the weekend. But it’s also been a bit of a refresher too. A creative stimulant that’s just for me before the week starts. It’s helpful that it’s light out so late and the weather is perfect around dinner time. The day doesn’t have to end so quickly.

Sunday Pasta: Tomato and Olive Oil

Taking my pasta up on the roof + reading a book + drinking a glass of wine + watching the sunset has become a new goal of my Sunday Pasta routine. Plus so much better than sitting on my couch in front of my TV – no matter what drama I’m into at the moment (Chasing Life on ABC Family and re-watching Brothers & Sisters on Netflix).

Sunday Pasta: Tomato and Olive Oil

I love making this pasta in the summer. Mostly because it’s crazy easy. Also because when you have awesome tomatoes, why cook them? Just toss with some great olive oil and serve. I guess I really don’t need to add the pasta in there. A simple tomato salad is just as good. No doubt, healthier. But it’s my vehicle for my favorite things, for new ingredients, for rough days, for dates, for deciphering a book written in 1825, for Sunday nights (proudly) alone.

Sunday Pasta: Tomato and Olive Oil

Simple Pasta with Tomato and Olive Oil

Dice tomatoes into cubes and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, herbs. Set aside. Cook pasta. Toss hot pasta with tomatoes, a little bit of the cooking water, and parmesan cheese. Damn that was easy.

Sunday Pasta: Tomato and Olive Oil

Sunday Pasta: Spinach Walnut Pesto and Asparagus

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Sunday Pasta with Spinach Walnut Pesto and Asparagus

Last night my friends reminded me about some of the joys of blogging. The writing, the eating, how it can be so simple, how it’s part of who we are and how we communicate. You should read their blogs – Eat More, Drink More, District Brit, Frijolita, Florida Girl in DC – especially if you’re in DC. Beyond their blogs, they inspire me in many many ways.

We were also talking about restaurants with menus that haven’t changed. We were split. If it was a good restaurant, we had a great experience, but yet it’s not a place we frequent often, are we satisfied with the same menu every time? Jenna wants to go back and have her favorite dish there – a simple but lovely pesto gnocchi. Russell wants to see what else they can do. They both come from a place of adoration.

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Sunday Pasta with Spinach Walnut Pesto and Asparagus

It reminded me of my Sunday pasta routine. Sometimes I just want the same thing over and over. After all, the point of Sunday pasta is ultimately comfort – at the end of a busy weekend, at the start of a busy week. But seasons change and so does the produce at the market, and new ingredients and combinations get my creative vibes moving at a time when they’re probably programed to wind down. It’s good for me. (Hint: Nikki, do this more often.)

The ingredients are really the way I’m going to get somewhere new. Everything else remains the same…the boxed pasta (sorrynotsorry that I don’t have time to make fresh pasta every weekend), the garlic and olive oil and butter, tossing everything together in a big pan, making a mess, West Wing or a 90′s pop music playlist playing in the background, my mom calling halfway through.

In this case, I changed things up with a spinach walnut pesto. Nothing groundbreaking here, but it was different than just typically throwing the spinach into the pasta to wilt a bit. Sautéing the asparagus instead of roasting it, kept the dish feeling lighter and added some texture. And how can you not be inspired by that bright pop of green? I’m sooo healthy even though this is full of carbs, yeah? Let’s pretend.

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Sunday Pasta with Spinach Walnut Pesto and Asparagus

Sunday Pasta: Orecchiette with Spinach Walnut Pesto and Asparagus

In a food processor, combine handfuls of fresh spinach, fresh basil, walnuts, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper until volià you have pesto. Chop asparagus in small pieces and sauté in butter and olive oil until cooked through (depends on how much of a crunch you’d like). Add the pesto and cooked pasta to the pan. Toss. Buon appetito!

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Sunday Pasta with Spinach Walnut Pesto and Asparagus

Strawberry Sage Mascarpone Tart

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Strawberry Sage Mascarpone Tart

This might just be my new favorite summer dessert. For many reasons. Fresh strawberries and beautiful sage from the farmer’s market. A combination of sweet almond and zesty orange cookies as a base. Mascarpone cheese (’nuff said). Fluffy whipped heavy cream. And no oven required.

How can something be so good when there’s no chocolate in it?

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Farmer's Market Strawberries

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Strawberry Sage Mascarpone Tart Cupcakes for Breakfast: Strawberry Sage Mascarpone Tart

The no baking part is especially wonderful. It’s not even that hot outside yet, but I prefer to not crank my oven up high in the summer. This tart just highlights the best of the best. My first pick of strawberries of the season and quality mascarpone cheese. I’ve been really into berry + herb combinations recently. Blueberry basil, raspberry mint, strawberry sage. Fantastic on a tart or in your cocktail. I think I’ll spend all summer exploring these combos. Adding gin, heavy cream, honey, prosecco as I’d like.

Now on to this perfect tart…

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Strawberry Sage Mascarpone Tart

Strawberry Sage Mascarpone Tart

For the filling:

  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tablespoon sugar
  • 8oz cups mascarpone cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 pound strawberries, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 Tablespoon fresh sage, chopped

For the crumb base:

  • 7 tablespoons butter
  • 10 oz almond and orange cookies
  1. Make the base: Melt butter. Crush cookies to a crumble in a food processor. Mix the crumbs with butter. Spoon the crumbs into a round tart pan with a removable bottom. Smooth into the corners and up the pan sides. Refrigerate until set.
  2. Make the filling: Separate the egg, putting the yolk in a bowl with the sugar and beating for a few seconds until mixed. Beat in mascarpone and vanilla extract. With a clean whisk, beat heavy cream until it’s whipped, and then fold it into the creamed mascarpone.
  3. Assemble: Spoon mascarpone filling into the cookie crust, spreading it to the edges. Arrange sliced strawberries and fresh chopped sage on top of the mascarpone. Keep cold until serving.

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Strawberry Sage Mascarpone TartCupcakes for Breakfast: Strawberry Sage Mascarpone Tart