Southwest Skillet Ragu

Hello friends! One of these days my goal is to get back to regular posting. I swear just when I think things will get back to normal, something else comes up that keeps me incredibly busy. This time it’s a move!! My boyfriend and I have lived in the same apartment for over 6 years now, and while we love a lot of things about it, when we got word of another place opening up, we jumped on the chance to take it. This time we will be renting the 2nd floor of a two-family house which has a lot more character than the generic apartment we live in now, and I think has a lot more potential for customization… also, I’ll be getting my own office/study/craftroom space which I am super excited about, and there’s space for a decent sized garden!!!! Anywho, our move out/move in date is January 1st, and that is rapidly approaching. With work keeping me busy much of the week, I’m using most of my spare time packing and getting ready for the move. It’s amazing how much we’ve accumulated in the 6+ years we’ve lived together.

With all the craziness around here, I’m searching for quick and easy meals that require few pans, and minimal cleanup. Okay, that’s what I’m always searching for, but even more so these days. This meal fits the bill perfectly. Two dishes, few ingredients, and all around comfort, this dish is a winner. Goulash is such a comforting food to me (it’s one of the first I started making on my own when Ron and I moved into our apartment), and this take on it with the southwest flavors of chili powder and cumin is really yummy. Definitely recommended.

Southwest Skillet Ragu

Southwest Skillet Ragu

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

1 cup elbow macaroni

1-1.5 lbs ground beef or turkey

1 large onion, diced

1 red (orange, yellow or green) bell pepper, chopped

8-12 oz white button or baby bella mushrooms, quartered

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp chili powder

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes (optional)

1 28-oz can diced tomatoes, with juices

1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded, plus more for serving

Salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Place a pot of water to boil, salt the water, and cook pasta according to directions. Reserve a cup of the pasta cooking water when done. Drain pasta and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, place a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add 1 tsp of olive oil, and add the ground meat. Cook until browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes, remove the meat from the pan and set aside, and drain off most of the grease. Leave a small amount just to coat the bottom of the pan.

3. Add the onions, and 1/2 tsp of salt, and cook about 5-6 minutes until softened and beginning to brown. Add the mushrooms and cook 5-6 minutes until golden brown. Add peppers, and cook another 2-3 minutes. Add garlic, spices, and 1/2 tsp of salt and cook 30-60 seconds until fragrant.

4. Add the tomatoes and their juices and bring to a boil. Add back browned meat, and simmer for about 5 minutes more until the sauce has thickened.

5. Add the pasta and cheese, and stir until well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If the sauce is too thick, add a bit of the pasta cooking water until the sauce is to your desired consistency. Serve, topping each serving with more cheese if desired.

Source: The Kitchn

 

 

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Pasta with Mushroom-Sausage Ragu

It’s hard to know what to say on a day like today when such a terrible event has occurred. I’ll just say that my thoughts and prayers are with the people of Boston, and their loved ones.  It’s hard to think of much other than Boston at a time like this, but I still wanted to share a recipe with you tonight, as I feel like there needs to be a sense of normalcy to provide comfort and peace, at least for me.

This recipe is a very comforting, and fairly healthy one. The mushrooms and onions, combined with the turkey sausage make a wonderfully hearty, but light topping for the pasta. Ron and I both loved this one.

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Pasta with Mushroom-Sausage Ragu

Serves 4

Ingredients:

8 oz pasta (a short shape such as penne, ziti, or shells)

1 cup plus 1 Tbsp 2% milk, divided

1 tsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder

2 Tbsp olive oil, divided

8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced

6 oz. portobello mushrooms, chopped

1 medium red onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1/4 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

8 oz. Italian turkey sausage, hot or mild, removed from casings

1 Tbsp tomato paste

1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves, divided

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)

Directions:

1. Over high heat, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook until al dente.

2. Combine the cornstarch (or arrowroot powder) with 1 Tbsp of the milk in a small bowl. Set aside.

3. While the pasta is cooking, place a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Add the mushrooms and onions and cook about 9-11 minutes, until the liquid has evaporated, and the mushroom-onion mixture is lightly browned. Add the garlic, salt and pepper, and cook a minute more. Remove the mixture from the pan, and place in a bowl. Set aside.

4. Place skillet back on the stove, and add the remaining Tbsp of olive oil. Add the turkey sausage, and cook, breaking up the sausage, until cooked through, about 3-5 minutes.

5. To the sausage, add a cup of milk and the tomato paste, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium low, add the cornstarch slurry, and cook about a minute until slightly thickened, stirring constantly. Add back the mushroom mixture, and 2 tsp of fresh thyme. Taste, and add salt and pepper to taste, and red pepper flakes if desired.

6. Serve over the pasta, or do as I did, and mix together with the pasta. Sprinkle the remaining thyme over the top.

Source: Apple a Day (who adapted it from Clean Eating, March 2013)