I invented this recipe the other night with leftovers (as one does with quarantine cooking—I cook in order of which produce needs to be used first) and it’s now a household favorite—like eating spring in a bowl! This is an easy quick dinner, particularly once you have everything prepped—about 15 - 20 min. of cooking time.
Note: We try to stay away from wheat, so we used “Banza” shell pasta (made from chickpeas—2x the protein, 3x the fiber, and 30% fewer net carbs of regular pasta), but feel free to substitute the pasta of your choice.
Serves 4, depending on how hungry you are!
1 box Banza shell pasta
Good olive oil, a lot
1 sm. yellow onion, thinly sliced
5 cloves slivered garlic
1 tsp. crushed garlic
1 bulb fennel, topped and tailed and thinly sliced
4 oz. cubed pancetta
1 bunch asparagus
1 c. fresh English peas
⅓ c. simple basil pesto sauce (if you use store bought, make sure it’s made with olive oil and not canola or safflower oil)
½ lemon, juiced
½ c. heavy cream
¼ c. grated Parmigiano Reggiano
4 springs fresh mint
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Crushed red pepper, to taste
Fill a large pot with water, salt generously and bring to a rolling boil. Once boiling, add pasta and cook according to instructions (I use 10 minutes for the Banza shell pasta). When timer dings, drain immediately and shock with cold water to stop cooking, then add back to the pot and set on the back burner.
Meanwhile, heat 1 T. olive oil in a large, heavy skillet then add one small yellow onion, thinly sliced, stir. After about a minute, add the fennel and slivered garlic. Continue to stir till all is wilted and turning a lovely golden color. Next, add the cubed pancetta to the pan, stir. After about a minute, add the asparagus and peas, stir and season all with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook for about 7 more minutes on medium heat, stirring often, adding more olive oil.
Then, add the pesto, lemon juice, and Parmigiano Reggiano, stir. After about a minute, turn heat to low and add in the heavy cream, stir and taste, adjusting seasoning if needed.
Lastly, add all ingredients of the skillet to the pot of drained pasta and place on your low-heat burner. Stir well and heat through, adjusting if needed (more olive oil, cheese, splash more cream, etc.). Remove and serve immediately, garnishing with fresh mint. Enjoy!
We've been doing our bit to help fight COVID-19 and sheltering-in-place. That means a LOT of cooking at home. I've been cooking though all of my favorite recipes and developing new ones as well to share. This is my absolute favorite new recipe, and, like most interesting recipes, was discovered by accident (dressing up boring butternut squash that HAD to be roasted—there was just so much of it!).
Squash: First, I roasted two large butternut squash. Here’s the easiest way to do it (and the tastiest since you roast them skin on): Wash the squash then slice down the middle and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle the four squash halves with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place, cut sides down, on cookie sheets, add water to the bottom of the pan, and put into a preheated 375 degree oven. Roast for 45 - 50 min. or till you can easily pierce the squash with a fork.
Marinara: Meanwhile, let’s get your sauce going. If you’re short on time (or simply don’t feel like it), feel free to use a good quality jarred marinara. Otherwise, take 1 28-oz. can of whole San Marzano tomatoes and get to work! To make this Italian old-school style, pour the tomatoes into a large bowl and break them up with your hands or a potato masher. Make sure you get all the juices out of the can. In a large skillet, heat ¼ c. good olive oil, then add 6-7 sliced garlic cloves. When garlic is sizzling, add the tomatoes and juice (add water if feel you need a bit more juice). Then add crushed red pepper flakes, dried oregano and salt, stir.
Now, here are two tricks—place an entire basil sprig on the sauce and let it wilt, simmer with sauce till sauce is thickened (about 15 min.). And, add just a bit of fish sauce! Remove basil and discard and season to taste: I like everything very spicy so, in addition to adjusting the salt and pepper, I add: cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper and a bit of dried thyme.
Meatballs: While the sauce is hanging out at a very slow simmer, start your meatballs. In a large bowl, combine 1 lb. grass-fed organic ground beef. 2 eggs, ¼ c. milk (I use goat milk), 2 T. arrowroot powder (a gluten-free substitute for breadcrumbs), garlic (about 3 minced cloves), minced jalapeno (one), minced yellow onion (one small or ½ large), and fresh parsley (fine to sub dried). Mix all with your hands then form into large balls. Heat olive oil in a large skillet and add the large meatballs to the sizzling oil. Get a slight crust on all sides.
Assemble: Now, to bring it all together! Take your squash out of the oven, scoop out the flesh and place in bite sized chunks in a large oven-proof casserole dish. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Next, pour your homemade or jarred marinara over top. Then, add your meatballs. Take a wooden spatula and loosely break up the meatballs and mix with the squash and marinara. Top with a generous portion of shredded organic mozzarella and pop back into the oven at 350 degrees for ten minutes. Serve with a generous portion of torn basil and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Insanely good with a glass of good Chianti. Enjoy!
Two large butternut squash
Good olive oil
Cracked black pepper
1 lb. grass-fed organic ground beef
¼ c. milk
2 T. arrowroot powder (I use instead of breadcrumbs)
1 jar organic marinara sauce OR *make your own!
Shredded organic mozzarella
A ninth-generation Kentuckian, I grew up eating Burgoo (“BUR-goo”)—the infamous spicy stew known as the Bluegrass State’s Official Dish and a Kentucky crowd-pleaser for more than 150 years. And I sure start to crave it around the first Saturday in May.
So today, in honor of the Kentucky Derby, I created a healthy Paleo-version of the infamous Kentucky Burgoo!
Healthy Kentucky Derby Burgoo
Serves a heap of folks a little, or a few folks a lot
2 red bell peppers, seeded
2 yellow bell peppers, seeded
2 green bell peppers, seeded
2 jalapenos, seeded
2 Poblano peppers, seeded
2 large tomatoes
1 large white or yellow onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 chicken, roasted and shredded
1 package, Andouille chicken sausages (precooked), cubed
2 T. olive oil
Jamaican jerk seasoning, to taste
Pink Himalayan sea salt, to taste
Cracked black pepper, to taste
Cayenne pepper, to taste
Apple Cider Vinegar, to taste
Worcestershire Sauce, to taste
Instructions: Wash and rough chop all veggies and pulse in batches in a food processor. (I used to painstakingly chop them all by hand till my Southern mother—who is a brilliant chef and 5-star Innkeeper asked me why in the world didn’t I use a food processor?)
Heat all veggies in a large wok skillet or dutch oven in 2 T. olive oil. Meanwhile, shred the chicken and cube the chicken sausage and stir into the veggie mixture. Simmer on low for 15 min. then begin to add your seasonings. I’m a big believer in seasoning to taste. I love things salty and spicy, you may not. Plus, it’s the best way I know to truly teach yourself to cook and to educate your palate. Have fun, play and experiment!
Simmer for 15 minutes more, taste again and adjust seasonings as desired. Note: If you prefer more of a souplike consistency, feel free to thin with chicken broth. Serve with piping hot cornbread. Mint Julep, optional. Happy Derby, y’all! Enjoy!
Certified Professional Coach Kate Buckley is committed to facilitating personal growth and systemic transformation. An intuitive and deep listener, she specializes in helping both individuals and organizations reframe their stories in order to reclaim their life—creating meaningful strategies to transform circumstances in order to thrive!