Thursday, December 17, 2009

It's All About...Me! "A Few of My Favorite Things" Pasta and a Link to "An Interview With"...Me!

"Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens, brown paper packages tied up with strings, these are a few of my favorite things..." Of course none of these items ended up in my "A Few of My Favorite Things Pasta" but many of my very favorite ingredients did. (sausage, garlic, red chili flakes, artichoke hearts, spinach, capers, lemon and a crunchy topping of toasted breadcrumbs and pine nuts). I happened across some whole wheat rigatoni the other day and I wanted to create a hearty yet healthy pasta dish that would work with it. This dish is easy, tastes great and uses mostly pantry items. Lots of ingredients, but it all works--a little tangy, a little spicy, some good texture and crunch, and a whole lotta yum.

"A Few of My Favorite Things" Pasta
by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Serves 4)

1 package whole wheat pasta (I used Bella Terra Organic Whole Wheat Rigatoni)
olive oil
1 cup bread crumbs (I used panko)
1/3 cup pine nuts
4 cloves of garlic minced
1 package (I used Aidells Artichoke & Garlic Chicken/Turkey Sausage), sliced in 1/4" pieces
1 Tbsp anchovy paste
2 tsp dried red chili pepper flakes
2 Tbsp basil or parsley, chopped very fine
2 Tbsp capers
1 can quartered artichoke hearts
2 cups baby spinach
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot boil water and cook pasta according to package instructions, drain and reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. As pasta cooks, heat a large pan over medium heat, add pine nuts and cook about 5 minutes until they begin to turn light brown, stirring or tossing frequently so they don't burn. Add about 1 Tbsp olive oil and stir in panko. Cook until panko browns and turns crispy then remove from pan and set aside on a plate. Wipe pan, heat over medium, add another tablespoon of oil and saute garlic about 1-2 minutes. Add sausage and cook until sausages are lightly browned. Add anchovy paste, chili pepper flakes, basil or parsley, capers and artichoke hearts and cook about 5 minutes so flavors start to blend. Add spinach and cover pan, cooking another 5 minutes until spinach is wilted. Add lemon juice and about 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta cooking liquid. Add cooked, drained pasta to the pan and mix gently but thoroughly, adding more of the pasta cooking liquid if necessary. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Place in individual serving bowls or plates, top each serving with about 1/4 cup of the toasted breadcrumbs /pine nut mixture and serve.

Notes/Results: What can I say?! I made it with my favorite ingredients, to suit my tastes and thought it was great. The ingredients work really well together and with all the flavor and the crispy-crunchy breadcrumbs and tasty pine nuts on top, it seems decadent even though it is pretty healthy. It's a nice change from a tomato or cream sauce. You could add some fresh grated Parmesan too, I am just trying to avoid dairy for awhile so I left it off, but again with the bread crumbs, (one of my favorite pasta toppings), I didn't miss it at all. Speaking of the bread crumbs, keep them separate until you serve the pasta so they remain nice and crisp and if you have leftovers, store the topping separately. I will make this again.

I am sending this dish to Presto Pasta Nights, being hosted this week by my good friend Reeni of Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice. She'll be posting the round-up of all the different pasta dishes on her blog Friday so go check it out--you'll find some amazing recipes.

And since my pasta was all about me it seems like the perfect time to let you know that if you want to find out even more about me, the wonderful Debs from Deb Cooks was kind enough to feature me this month in her "An interview with" feature. I got to know Debs through her participation in Souper Sundays (what is it about Deb, Debs, Debby and Debbies and soup? We get them all at Souper Sundays!). She is, as her blog header states,"An English Girl, Living in Spain, Addicted to Cooking." Debs always has great and unique recipes on her blog so it's a fun place to visit even if you don''t want to know any more about me! ;-) But just in case you do, you can find my answers to her thought-provoking questions here.



  1. Nothing better than pasta made with your favorite things!

  2. I love your choice of ingredients--particularly the panko topping. Heading right over to read more about you.

  3. I had to read the recipe twice, for a minute I thought there were no capers!
    Great pasta, and the sausage would complement the chewiness of ww pasta very well. Love the panko topping too. I keep forgetting to do toppings like that.
    Fab intreview Chica!

  4. somehow I just knew you would add capers ;) looks delicious!

  5. Interestingly enough, most of your favorite things are my favorite things as well. I have been on a sausage kick myself lately. DOn't know why I've been craving it so much, but pork IS my favorite meat. Delicious! Can't wait to read your interview.

  6. This pasta looks great. I read the interview, and loved it! I enjoy reading this blog, and I'm glad to know more about you!

  7. Thanks Deb... now that song is in my mind for the day. I pity the folks around me, cause I will be singing and I am not a very good singer.

    Speaking of good... Your pasta dish is goodness times a billion, which equals awesome. I definitely will be adding this to my "must-make" list.

  8. And your pasta has many of my favorite things too! Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights.

    I'm looking forward to what you plan on coming up with next year!

    In the meantime, have a very Happy Holiday Season.

  9. mmmm, this sounds delicious! I can't wait to go over and read your answers! :D

  10. I see a common theme here - these are a few of my favorite things too! I love the topping. So comforting and so delicious! Thanks for sending it to Presto Pasta Nights!

  11. Oh yum, pasta. Definitely one of my favorite things. We have pasta at least once a week. Lots of wonderful comments left on my blog after your fans reading the interview. Thanks again for your time in participating, appreciate the mention in this post too, x

  12. Oh yes, wonderful, favorite things pasta.. love the name!!

  13. Now I've got that song going through my head - it's been awhile since we watched that movie, I'm going to hunt it down today!

    I'm on my way to check out the interview....

  14. Ola to have a lonnnnnnnnnngggggggggggg list of fav things but my list is never ending and yeah pasta is surely one of ' it.....


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