Sorry, I Burned the Pine Nuts

In digging through my draft posts, the ones that never quite saw the light of the blogosphere, I came across this one … sharing an easy pasta recipe with sautéed spinach on the side.  I have mentioned before that my husband is the primary cook in this house; not that I don’t know how or am not willing, but for him it is a hobby and an art, and I willingly enjoy the products of his creativity.  Often when I cook, it is because my husband and boys are gone for the evening or weekend, and I go looking for something quick to put together, so I can pour a glass of wine and hunker down with a good chick flick!

Rigatoni with broccoli and brie ingredients

On one of these occasions when I found myself on the cooking rather than eating side of the food equation, and felt my blog had been sparse on the food posts, I tried to keep the mayhem (and cat hair) in the kitchen at a minimum as I cooked, with an occasional photo along the way.

Feline kitchen help

Four ingredients: whole wheat pasta, broccoli, brie and pine nuts.  Really can’t get much simpler than that.

Whole wheat rigatoni

Broccoli steamer
My old Pampered Chef microwave steamer pot is ideal for quickly steaming veggies.

The challenge is to not eat the brie while chopping it into cubes as the pasta boils!

Brie cubes for pasta

Actually, the real challenge is not getting distracted while the pine nuts are toasting in the skillet.  As usual, I multi-tasked one too many things, and soon the smell of burnt pine nuts was filling the house …. but it was not a loss, and I took one for the team, filling a bowl with a healthy portion.

Pasta with burnt pine nuts ..... aka Creamy Rigatoni with Broccoli

And for an additional dose of green leafy vegetables, and another of my favorite quick and easy sides, I couldn’t screw up the Barefoot Contessa’s Garlic Sautéed Spinach (my kind of recipe — advertised prep time: 6 minutes, cook time: 4 minutes!).

Garlic cloves for sauteed spinach

A good olive oil, generous portion of garlic cloves, and fresh spinach leaves mix together for a wonderful wilted dish. It stands alone or would be tasty mixed in with pasta for another pasta with greens option.

For the Garlic Sautéed Spinach recipe, click here.

Garlic Sauteed Spinach

For the Creamy Rigatoni with Broccoli and Brie recipe, click here.

Creamy Rigatoni with Broccoli and Brie

Ciao! ~ Kat

Three of My Favorite Things: Brie, ‘Shrooms and Arugula

I started my photo challenge post for the “escape” theme, but between track meets, orchestra concerts and work obligations, it has stagnated (due to it becoming a bit more elaborate of a post than I had planned, as I spent time reflecting on, or perhaps planning, my escape). . . . But, while replying to comments (as a procrastination strategy in response to my other obligations), John at From the Bartolini Kitchens reminded me of an easy weeknight recipe I like to make when time is limited (when I don’t have time to make the really delicious ideas posted by John!).

Pasta with Brie, Mushrooms and Arugula
Pasta with Brie, Mushrooms and Arugula — just ignore the stray dog hair that found its way into the bowl . . . such is life in Kat’s house.

In less than half an hour, dinner is on the table by making Pasta with Brie, Mushrooms and Arugula, one of Real Simple magazine’s recipes.  My entire family enjoys this recipe, and it is easy to change up, perhaps by adding a little garlic and prosciutto next time?  The brie with white cooking wine creates a light creamy sauce without becoming too heavy, and that sharp bite of baby arugula is always tasty.  I used baby portabella mushrooms (you know, the other dark meat) which I think added a bit more flavor than regular button mushrooms.  A mix of mushrooms could be a nice addition, as well.

This recipe has found its way into my tried and true recipe binder for repeat use.  If you give it a try with some twists of your own, I would love to hear about them!

Ciao! ~ Kat

Basil, Zucchini, and Squash — Oh My!

When a friend dropped off some beautiful zucchini and yellow summer squash from her garden, and while our basil is at its peak, the Williams-Sonoma blog “The Blender” must have had me in mind when they posted their recipe for Spaghettini with Summer Squash and Crispy Speck.

Williams-Sonoma's recipe for Spaghettini with Summer Squash and Crispy Speck (Photo: Kat B./travelgardeneat)
My rendition of Spaghettini with Summer Squash and Crispy Speck.
(Photo: Kat B./travelgardeneat)

The pasta dish is not heavy at all — perfect for warmer summer evenings.  Particularly if you use garden-fresh basil, it adds a nice aroma and little herbal bite to the dish.  This recipe is definitely one worth making again, quick and easy enough for a weeknight meal.