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Weekday dinner inspirations: Tagliatelle With Smashed Peas, Sausage and Ricotta Cheese, and more

Mon | Bistro bites

Shaky economy keeping you home? Pretend you're in Paris tonight and serve a Bacon and Egg Bistro Salad for dinner. Top mesclun greens with chopped and fried bacon and a poached egg. Dress the salad with a mustardy vinaigrette and serve a toasted slice of French bread on the side.

Tues | No meat

Cheese Tortellini With Fresh Tomato Sauce makes use of frozen tortellini. While cooking the tortellini according to package instructions, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet for the sauce. Add diced onions and a few cloves of minced garlic. Add about 1/4 cup white wine and simmer for a few minutes. Stir in chopped ripe tomatoes and drained tortellini. Toss with lots of grated Parmesan.

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

Open-face Chicken and Avocado Sandwiches make good use of the store-bought bird. Shred the chicken and set aside. Make a dressing of mayonnaise and smashed avocado brightened with lemon juice. Mix in the chicken and spread on slices of hearty whole wheat bread. Top with parsley leaves and thin slices of radish or tomatoes. Fresh fruit on the side.

Thurs | Cookbook compilation

The editors of Food & Wine magazine have been kind enough to compile recipes from the 25 best cookbooks of last year in their own book titled Best of the Best Cookbook. Tagliatelle With Smashed Peas, Sausage and Ricotta Cheese (recipe below) from a Giada De Laurentiis cookbook caught our eye. Serve it with a green salad.

Fri | Stay outside

It's too hot to turn on the oven. Grill steaks and corn on the cob. Dot the corn with butter, add a few shakes of chili powder and wrap in foil before tossing on the grill. Make a big green salad and add knobs of goat cheese (or feta or blue cheese) and sliced peaches; dress with balsamic vinaigrette. Summer at its best.

Read Stir Crazy online at www.blogs.tampabay.com/food. Submit your ideas for quick weeknight meals to jkeeler@sptimes.com.

>>easy

Tagliatelle With Smashed Peas, Sausage and Ricotta Cheese

1 pound fresh or dried tagliatelle pasta (or other wide, long pasta)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 pound hot Italian sausage, casings removed

1 pound frozen peas, thawed

1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese

1 bunch fresh basil leaves chopped (about 3/4 cup)

1/4 cup fresh grated Pecorino Romano cheese

1 teaspoon salt

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes if dry or according to package directions if fresh. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.

Meanwhile, in a large, heavy skillet heat the olive oil and garlic over medium-high heat and add the sausage. Use a wooden spoon to break up the sausage into bite-sized bits. When the sausage has browned, about 5 minutes, remove from heat and set aside. Add the peas to the pan and, using the back of the wooden spoon, smash them. Turn off the heat. Add the ricotta cheese along with the cooked pasta and toss to coat, adding the pasta cooking water in 1/4 cup additions, if needed, to make the pasta moist. Return the sausage to the pan. Add the basil, Pecorino Romano cheese, and salt. Toss gently to coat and serve immediately.

Serves 4 to 6.

Source: Giada's Kitchen by Giada De Laurentiis (Clarkson Potter, 2008)

Weekday dinner inspirations: Tagliatelle With Smashed Peas, Sausage and Ricotta Cheese, and more

08/11/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 11, 2009 5:30am]

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