Pretty much since I started the blog my fireman has been suggesting that I put on something that I make for us almost every week: Kitchen Sink Pasta. The problem is that it’s never the same so I never knew how to write about it, but I’m going to give it a shot.
Kitchen Sink Pasta is many, many things. It’s what happens when I’ve had a busy day and need to whip up something quick and easy. It’s the fate of all the little bits of things lurking in the dark corners of the fridge. It’s a mini-at-home-‘Chopped’-challenge when I’m feeling ambitious.
What Kitchen Sink Pasta really is a method. First, I wake up and realize I haven’t planned out that night’s dinner and decide on Kitchen Sink Pasta, which is usually my que to throw together my easy ciabatta dough to bake up later. *Note: I really only make bread because one box of pasta won’t feed both of us and leave a leftover for the hubby’s lunch.*
Secondly, when it’s time to start cooking, I round up all the little odds and ends in the kitchen and see what needs to be eaten and see if I can make a theme or cohesive culinary idea out of it. In today’s roster is a lemon, some country sausage, a bunch of herbs from my Daddy’s garden and feta cheese, which screams out “GREEK” to me…
Second, I pad roster with pantry staples that are almost always lying around, like onions, garlic, olive oil and, of course, pasta.
Third, I try to come up with an idea for a sauce or lack there of. I like to run through some simple sauce styles in my mind and see which one goes best with what I’ve got going; like a simple Aglio-olio-pepperoncino (the quintessential Kitchen Sink Pasta!) or Cacio-peppe combination, a pesto, a cream sauce or a tomato based sauce. Today I chose a combination of creamy and pesto; the creamy because it was snowing outside and wanted something rich and filling and the pesto to bust through all those herbs.
Creamy Lemon Pesto Pasta
Serves 3-4 – cost approx $1.51 per serving, including bread
- 1 small bunch oregano ($0 for home grown!)
- 1 small bunch thyme ($0 for home grown!)
- 1/2 bunch parsley ($.25)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 lemon’s juice ($.25)
- salt – to taste
- 1/4 cup olive oil ($.50 – I got a good deal on some nice olive oil at Raley’s!)
- 1 lb pasta – just whatever you have on hand, any type will be tasty
- 1 lg onion, thinly sliced ($.50)
- 1/2 lb pork sausage ($.99)
- pinch cinnamon
- pinch nutmeg
- 2-3 cloves minced garlic
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups milk ($.44)
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella ($.37)
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta ($.99)
- 1 lemon’s zest ($.25)
Start out by putting on a pot of water to cook the pasta.
To make up the pesto, blend up all the ingredients in the first set. Taste and add salt as necessary.
In a large pot, saute up the onion in a little bit of olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add in the sausage, cinnamon and nutmeg. The cinnamon gives a nice Greek/Mediterranean flavor and the nutmeg is traditional in cream sauces. When the sausage is all browned add in the garlic and cook another minute or too. Sprinkle over the flour and stir for a few minutes to make an informal roux.
Next, whisk in the milk and bring to a simmer. Let the sauce simmer 5-10 minutes (hey, that’s about how long it takes for pasta to cook, hint hint!) You can add in up to about a cup of pasta water to the sauce if it looks too thick. Stir in the cooked pasta, the pesto you already made and all the remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Yum yum!