Empty Fridge Pasta Night: Spaghetti w/ Lemon-Thyme

April 22, 2009 at 10:43 pm 1 comment

Wow we’ve been busy, both attending conferences in our field this past week and not had any time to cook up blog worthy meals or go out for something fun to post either. Heck, I haven’t been to the grocery store for almost two weeks now.

So I turn to pasta. Pasta is probably my de facto standard whip up something from nothing meal. It is one of the first dishes I became pretty good at making while in college cooking mainly for myself. So tonight, like many a nights in college, the pickings in the fridge are getting pretty limited. I’ve got some bulk mild Italian sausage that needed to be used, some thyme left over from the pot roast, and some grape tomatoes setting on the counter. So I’ll show you the picture first, then I’ll “describe” the meal, since there is no real recipe and you know I don’t actually measure anything.

Spaghetti and Italian sausage with lemon thyme sauce.

Spaghetti and Italian sausage with lemon thyme sauce.

First start your large pot of salty boiling water for the pasta. Then medium chop up half a small red onion and 6 cloves of garlic. In a large stir fry pan (or sauce pan) heat up some olive oil (~2 tbs) until smoking hot. Add onions first, and cook until soft, then add garlic, red pepper flakes salt and pepper cooking until garlic starts to brown. Start your noodles. Now add some large chunks (or small meatballs) of the mild Italian sausage and brown the edges, then cover and turn heat down to med-low and cook until the largest piece of meat is no longer pink in the center.

Now to make the sauce, which I normally make with my immersion blender and the cup that came with it. Using a whisk will do, but the blender is best. Zest and juice 1 small lemon and add at least that much olive oil, fresh thyme and blend. Now to the meatballs, crank the heat back up and use ~2 tbs white wine vinegar to deglaze the onion/garlic from the bottom of the pan. Reduce by half coating the meatballs with the oniony glaze. While this is reducing, quickly cut up some grape tomatoes. Add the lemon-thyme sauce and grape tomatoes and reduce heat to low. Now drain and add your pasta and mix thoroughly. The sauce should be enough to coat the pasta throughout, if not make some more. Top with some grated Parmesan, fresh thyme and drizzle with a splash of olive oil. The idea is that the meatballs will have a nice roasted flavor from the onions and garlic with a slight spiciness from the red pepper flacks. The pasta and tomatoes should have more of a fresh taste from the lemon and thyme. Next time, I’ll try coating the pasta with the lemon thyme sauce and mix with the tomatoes, then plate the sausage separately on the side or top.

Hopefully next time you think you don’t have anything to cook, you’ll think about creating your own pasta concoction on a whim.


Entry filed under: Dinner, Italian. Tags: , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Emily  |  April 26, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    I love clean out the fridge pasta! This concept has served us well, especially during the season when leftovers from our CSA share don’t seem to work together very well – it seems like we can always coax then into a pasta!


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