Category: Pasta/Rice

Cheese Tortellini Stew with Sausage

I’m still here. Promise.

Tax season is in full swing, so I’ve been spending 60 hours a week at the office and eating a lot of catered meals. I purposely go out to eat for lunch because a break from the computer is welcome. In other words, I’m not cooking.

I’ve been missing it, though. A lot.

In my lack of free time, we booked our flight to Spain and Portugal. Nearly three weeks there. I couldn’t be happier. It’s coming up quick, too, which makes it even better. There isn’t much worse than booking something so far in advance that it doesn’t even feel like it’s happening. Couple the quick timeline with a super busy work schedule, and I’ll be on that flight soon enough. Any suggestions? We’ve got a loose schedule of Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, Lisbon, and Porto. Anything else is extra. I’ve definitely learned that I can’t try to bake too much into the trip or I’ll be left exhausted and disappointed. The only things we’re trying to make happen is a ton of wine and a FC Barcelona match. I’m not a huge Barca fan, but I can’t go all that way to not see one of the best teams in the world. I’ve been working on my Español via Duolingo. I’m surprised at how much I remember. Seriously, though, suggestions. I need ‘em.

This stew was random and made weeks ago in a fit of lusting after carbs and cheese. That’s normal, right? It all resulted in a famous “let’s throw everything in the pot, and see what happens.” Tortellini are one of those things that I can’t ever see myself making. It seems like way too much effort when there is are perfectly good pre-made ones at the store. Spinach, canned tomatoes, and Italian sausage round out the rest of it. It’s hardly a bad combination. Oh, and garlic and chili flakes. Lots of them, but you wouldn’t expect anything less from me. Shaved pecorino came later. And during. And before. That goes for the wine, too.


  • 8oz frozen tortellini
  • 15oz can of chopped tomatoes
  • 10oz frozen chopped spinach
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1lb spicy Italian sausage, sliced [mine was precooked]
  • 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • chili flakes, salt, and pepper to taste
  • pecorino cheese, for serving


Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Add the oil and wait until it starts to shimmer. Add the sliced sausage to the pan, browning it on a few sides. Add the garlic and sauté for a minute. Don’t let it burn. Pour in the chopped tomatoes, juice and all. Bring it to a boil and add the vinegar. Add the chopped spinach and tortellini. Bring to a simmer, and stir occasionally. Taste the tomato broth for salt and pepper. Add chili flakes to your heart’s content. The tortellini will be cooked through after about 10 minutes. Serve into bowls, and top with fresh shaved pecorino.

Pappardelle with Prosciutto and Potatoes

I am seriously pining for longer days. Taking Roma for a five mile walk in the early afternoon, makes me either want to come home and bake or prep something for the grill. As soon as I start seriously considering it, I realize it’s going to get dark in an hour, which will completely take me out of that mode and put me into “let’s curl up on the couch with a book” mode. It’s frustrating.

Speaking of books, I’ve been reading The Name of the Wind and am finally loving it. It was starting off way to slow for me to really get into, and once I found an e-reader version, I’ve been gobbling it up. Someone explained it to me as a more mature Harry Potter, which doesn’t feel accurate, but it’s enough to get me to read it. It’s definitely a lot darker, but just as much magic. I’m into it.

I’m also into the comfort of fresh pasta. It’s really hard to find pappardelle by the way. I almost made my own out of fresh sheets of lasagna noodles. Is that weird? I just couldn’t bear to make this any other way. If it said pappardelle, I need pappardelle. I won’t accept a substitute [even though you totally could]. Sautéing the prosciutto didn’t bite me this time. You know how salty it gets. I was bracing myself for something similar, but it didn’t happen. I think the thicker cut coupled with the smaller dice and an overwhelming carb to protein ratio helped. It’s necessary to cut through that delicious pasta and potato. I know it seems like starchy overkill, but I can’t deny its deliciousness. I added a whole hell of a lot of arugula to the mix. It wasn’t anywhere on the original recipe, but I had some. I wanted greenery, if only for the color, but it was really, really good mixed into the pasta. Crisp. Fresh. Peppery. After I shot the photo, I added another two handfuls at least. It was really nice.

The only thing I’d do differently next time is reserve more pasta water than I think I need. Things felt gummy fast. I was thankful for the arugula to break things up. It still tasted great the next day, even if it was sticking together like one nacho.

Inspiration: La Cucina Italiana


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1lb pappardelle pasta
  • 1lb Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into a 1/4″ dice [tedious but necessary]
  • 1/3lb thick cut prosciutto [I asked the deli to cut it at least double the size that they normally do; that worked great]
  • 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
  • 3/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 3-5 cups fresh arugula
  • salt and pepper to taste


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Heat the olive oil in a large pan on medium high heat until it’s shimmering. Add the potato and prosciutto. Reduce heat to medium low and cover, cooking for about 8-10 minutes until the potato is tender.

Cook the pasta until it’s al dente. Reserve 1/4-1/2 cup of the pasta water before you drain it. Put the pasta in your serving bowl. Add the potato mixture, at least 1/4 of the pasta water, half of the cheese and parsley, and toss. Add more water if you feel like it could use it. Season with salt and pepper and top with the remainder of the cheese and parsley. Serve with the arugula or mix it in if you so choose.


Turkey Ragù with Fennel and Ricotta

Things of note:

1. A Negroni Flip [think Negroni with a whole egg shaken into it] is such a good drink.

2. There has been an obscene amount of Breaking Bad watched in this house. I’m not sorry.

3. Just in time for our departure to Thailand, we’ve fallen in love with this place. Go.

So funny story — in my attempt to pick up some ground chicken the other day, I was accidentally given ground turkey. I didn’t notice until I was checking the receipt on the way out the door. I clearly haven’t had turkey lately because I really didn’t think I was going to notice that much of a difference in this ragù.

You do notice, but it’s definitely not a bad thing. It smelled like Thanksgiving in the house, which is always welcome, even when it’s sunny and 80° outside. The turkey nestled in with that white wine and mirepoix and turns out a very different but very good ragù. The fennel and ricotta dotted on top contrast with the comforting goodness of the ragù. It’s bright and fresh in comparison. If you hadn’t had fennel before it’s really black licorice-y in flavor. In other words, I love it. PS, don’t mess around with part-skim ricotta. Get the whole milk version, and you’ll be so much happier.

I’m still convinced that La Cucina Italiana Magazine can do no wrong. I have yet to be disappointed, even if I have an unexpected change to my ingredient list.

Inspiration: La Cucina Italiana


  • 1lb of your favorite pasta [I used fresh fettucine]
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1.25lbs ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup white onion, small dice
  • 1 medium carrot, small dice
  • 1 celery stalk, small dice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta
  • 3/4 cup fennel, small dice
  • salt and pepper


In a large skillet, heat the olive oil on medium heat. When the oil is shimmering and sputters when you hit it with a drop of water, add the onion, carrot, and celery. Stir occasionally for about 10 minutes, until they get soft and the onion starts to get translucent. Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix together the ricotta and 1/2 cup of fennel with a pinch of salt and pepper. Let it sit while you finish the ragù.

Add the ground turkey, stirring it into the vegetables, and breaking it up as it cooks. Cook for another 10 minutes before adding the white wine. Continue stirring occasionally. Let it simmer together on medium until most of the wine is evaporated. If the turkey is a bit oily, it will soak up at the same time, too. Cover with a lid when it’s mostly evaporated, and turn the heat down to low. Cook for another 8-10 minutes before seasoning with a pinch of salt and turning off the heat.

During the final cooking time, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water before you drain it. Toss the pasta in a bowl with the ragù. After serving the pasta, top with dollops of the cheese. Sprinkle with some of the remaining fennel and eat.

Pasta with Green Beans and Gorgonzola

I usually have two eating modes: 1) making a nice meal, sitting down at the table, or 2) eating food straight from the fridge/pantry/in front of the sink. I guess there are three if you count going out or shoveling things into my mouth at my desk at work. I do both all the time a lot.

When I lived at home, I used to eat a lot in front of the TV. Then when I moved out on my own, I realized I don’t like to watch TV [seriously, I bought cable and the box stayed unplugged for MONTHS], so that usually puts me into mode one or two. One when Andrew’s home; two when it’s just me. An entire bag of pita chips and hummus totally make a meal.

Occasionally I’ll eat my Chinese take out while sitting on the couch, but that just results in the dog staring in hopes I’ll give her some so she’ll stop staring. That’s a vicious cycle to get yourself into. No matter how sad the puppy eyes, do not feed the dog those crunchy chow mien noodles. She won’t go away.

Then there are the times I pretend I’m on a date with myself and set a place setting. I may even make myself a cocktail [Campari and soda, kthx]. This pasta was totally one of those evenings. It’s a total pantry meal, which hardly ever happens. I would actually need food in the pantry for that to happen. I had a jar of green beans from my grandma’s canning spree, so I was pretty good to go. It’s a simple sauce of olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, and a healthy dose of  crumbled and shredded gorgonzola. Simple. Easy. Totally customizable.

CONFESSION: In the end, I totally ate this on the couch. Roma likes green beans.


  • 4oz dried pasta [I used linguine]
  • 1 jar/can of whole green beans
  • 1 glove of garlic, minced
  • 4-5 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, minced
  • 1oz shredded gorgonzola
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • chile flakes


Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat in a large enough pan to hold the pasta. Add the garlic, tomatoes, and green beans. Sauté for a couple of minutes until the green beans are warmed through. Turn the heat off, add the pasta, the remaining olive oil, and the 3/4 of the gorgonzola. Stir until the cheese starts to melt a little and the pasta is reheated. Plate [or just eat it straight from the pan]. Top with the remaining gorgonzola and some chile flakes for some spice.


Soba Noodles with Ground Chicken and Greens

Who decided that brussels sprouts are cool now? I feel like it’s starting to surpsass kale. Remember when everyone hated brussels [except me and my dad]? They were hated, generally steamed/boiled, and never, ever talked about. Now, they’re on absolutely every single trendy restaurant’s menu in at least one dish if not roasted on their own [with bacon]. Don’t get me wrong, I like seeing one of my favorite veggies hoisted into the spotlight, but I can’t help but feel like the awesome that is brussels is cheapened by the fact that it’s now the cool thing to eat.

In more important news, I’ve been eating a lot of things in bowls lately [and bagels, but that's a whole other subject entirely]. They’re super comforting, rather forgiving, and you can put just about anything you want in them. Actually just putting anything in a bowl makes it feel more meal-like. My dad and I polished off 4 1/2 pounds of mussels this weekend. Meal. I threw chocolate chips and pomegranate seeds in a bowl of hot cereal. Meal. Putting popcorn in a bowl. Meal. Licking leftover batter out of a bowl. Meal.

Okay, so having a carb, a protein, and a vegetable helps make it a little more balanced and complex. An Asian dressing doesn’t hurt.

Inspiration: Sprouted Kitchen


  • 1 bunch tuscan kale
  • 5 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1o brussels sprouts
  • 1/2lb ground chicken, cooked and drained of fat
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon tamari [or soy sauce]
  • 2-4 pinches red pepper flakes
  • 8oz soba noodles
  • 4 green onions, slivered


Tear the leaves of the kale off the stems and clean and dry the leaves thoroughly. Bunch them up and slice with a knife into thin ribbons. Put the kale in a bowl and pour one teaspoon of toasted sesame oil over the top and sprinkle with salt. Massage the leaves so that ever piece is covered in oil. Slice the brussels into small shreds, and toss both greens together.

In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, rice vinegar, remaining sesame oil, and tamari. Pour the dressing over the greens and toss well to combine. Store in the fridge while you finish the noodles.

Cook the soba noodles according to the package instructions, drain them well, and toss them with the greens. Add the chicken. Top with sliced onion and red pepper flakes to taste.

Bacon Fried Rice

I have this tendency to order chicken curry and treat it like soup [this happens at home too. I'm consistent in my quirks]. This leaves piles of rice completely untouched. I’m just not a huge fan. I’ll eat it if it’s the focus of a dish [risotto or jambalaya], but plain white/brown rice is just a filler. I’m much more inclined to save previous stomach real estate for the curry. Priorities.

[Someday we'll get into all of my food quirks. The list is long. So, so long.]

Now, I like fried rice. Fried rice falls into the category of rice-y things. I never order it specifically [because I'd much rather eat bbq pork, crab puffs, and egg rolls], but it’s usually in whatever combo plate I order at any Chinese restaurant. It’s porky. It has vegetables in it. It’s like a meal in a bowl. I had never made it because I don’t ever just make rice and have leftovers. I’ve read leftover rice makes the best fried rice, so I took it upon myself to actually get the rice with my chicken curry and save it. I had a pile of bacon in the fridge that was begging to be used. I went completely nontraditional in the veggies because I had half a bag of red, yellow, and green bell peppers. Don’t you normally see things like peas and carrots? Regardless, it worked really well. I love forgiving dishes like that.

Inspiration: Shutterbean


  • 4 cups of cooked rice
  • 6 slices of bacon, diced
  • 4 green onions, white and green parts sliced
  • 1 cup frozen bell peppers, diced
  • Clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger
  • 4 eggs, whisked together in a bowl
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha


If you have a wok, use that. I miss mine sometimes. Otherwise, you’ll need a skillet with some higher walls to contain all your goodies. Cook the bacon on medium high heat until browned. Drain the fat so only a nice layer remains. Push the bacon to the sides and add the green onions, garlic, and ginger. Cook it for two minutes, stirring often so it doesn’t stick or burn. Add the frozen peppers to the mix, letting it cook for another couple of minutes until it’s heated through. Put this mixture into a bowl and set aside.

Lower the heat to medium and scramble the eggs. When they’re fully cooked, add them to your bacon mixture. Add the two tablespoons of vegetable oil and return the heat to medium high. Add the rice to the pan, coating it in the oil. Cook for 5-6 minutes stirring occasionally, but not too much. You want the rice to get slightly crispy.

Add your bacon mixture to the rice, stirring and returning everything to the same temperature. Pour in the soy sauce and hot sauce. Stir and taste.

Arroz Con Pollo

Thank you so much for your kind words in the last post. It means a lot to me and the whole family. Seriously.

We hit up the Portland Showcase of Wine and Cheese, an annual fundraiser for The Boys and Girls Club on Friday. All you can eat and drink cheese and wine for a good cause? Yes, please. They also have two huge prime rib stations, and a few more snack stations with a surprising number of veggie options, but extra carb options. Otherwise, you’re Drunktown USA by the second table. There are hundreds of wine and cheese vendors. It’s overwhelming and awesome. It’s definitely one of the coolest events of the year. It’s our third or fourth year going; I can’t remember which. I will continue to go as long as I’m in town.

I left the land of the sweet for a bit [at least cooking at home...I did have a chocolate hazelnut milkshake from Burgerville the other day]. I still eat three normal meals a day that don’t involve brownies, I promise. I still get crazy cravings for the comforting of comfort food. Chicken and rice are so totally those things in all forms. There is actually a Belizean food cart a block away from my office that does some really good comforting stewed chicken and coconut rice, a pile of arugula, and some spicy habanero salsas like grapefruit pulp. This arroz con pollo kind of reminds me of that, only less spicy.

This made the house smell ridiculously good while it cooked. You kind of have to babysit it to keep it refreshed with broth, kind of like a risotto. I did not do as good of a job as I should have. I ended up with a few burned bits of rice. Nothing serious. Nothing to stop me from devouring. My Dutch oven only held four large thighs. There was no way I was getting another two legs in there per the original recipe. The meat was falling off the bone, though, which is the way meat should be. I don’t want to work too hard when I’m chowing down on comfort, y’know? Sometimes my inner carnivore is lazy.

Inspiration: A Cozy Kitchen


  • 4 large bone-in chicken thighs with skin on
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 roma tomatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 14oz valencia or jasmine rice
  • 4 cups chicken stock


Heat a Dutch oven on medium-high heat with the two tablespoons of olive oil. Add the chicken, skin side down. Brown for 5 minute before flipping. Cook for another 3-4 minutes and remove the chicken to another plate.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion, coating them in the chicken grease. Let the onion sauté for a good 7 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic on top of the onion, don’t mix, and let it get good and fragrant for another minute or two. Add the tomatoes and red pepper. Stirring well, scraping up all of the lovely browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the spices and a pinch of salt. Stir.

Pour the rice in, really mixing it into the pot. Once it’s all covered in the tomato mixture, nestle the chicken into the top of the rice, and pour 2 of the cups of broth in or until it reaches the top of the rice. Bring everything to a boil before reducing the heat to a simmer and covering. Add a half cup of broth when it appears low. I checked it every 15 minutes or so. When the rice if fully cooked, you’ll be done [about 45 minutes].

So, so good.

Bucatini with Roasted Cauliflower

Within two days of receiving Sara Forte’s The Sprouted Kitchen cookbook, I read it cover to cover. I’ve already made three of the recipes. If were someone who dog-ears pages, I’m pretty sure they’d all be marked. Seriously. It’s good tasting food that just happens to be good FOR you. Not the other way around. Novel.

I’m definitely bummed I didn’t get to Powell’s when she came through Portland on her book tour. That’s not weird, is it? I’m sure I’d just turn into a mumbling bumbling star-struck weirdo, though, so it’s probably for the best. Maybe for book two?

The original recipe has capellini, which clearly tested my nonexistent pasta knowledge. I thought I had some. Silly me. Bucatini is really not the same thing. At all. But it’s still dang delicious. I shake my fist at you, Italians. There are way too many awesome pastas that seem really similar, but really aren’t. I’m sure there is an app for that.

PS – I also cooked up a lamb sausage and sliced some up for added protein, but it really doesn’t need it.

Inspiration: The Sprouted Kitchen Cookbook


  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets as similarly shaped as possible
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons lemon pepper seasoning
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 pound whole grain bucatini
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • a handful of fresh basil leaves, cut into thin slices [thanks, Grammy]
  • 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted
  • grated/shaved pecorino


Preheat the oven 425°, and bring a large pot of boiling water for your pasta. Toss the cauliflower in a large bowl with the olive oil. Once it’s all coated, sprinkle with the lemon pepper seasoning, a pinch of salt, and the nutmeg. Toss it all again before spreading it out over a rimmed baking sheet. Place it in the oven, stirring occasionally until it’s starting to get caramelized brown spots. This should take between 25-35 minutes.

Cook the pasta according to package directions, but pull it out a minute before it says to. While it cooks, melt the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Swirl it around as it heats until it starts to darken and smell toasty [a couple minutes].

Turn off the heat and drain the pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Add the pasta to the broend butter, a splash of the pasta water, the balsamic vinegar. Toss to combine. Add the cauliflower and toasted hazelnuts. Toss to combine again. Garnish with fresh grated/shaved pecorino.

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Beet Greens

It’s totally appropriate to eat an entire package of ravioli in one sitting, right? How about when you’re home alone watching 4+ episodes of The Walking Dead in a row? I wandered around the store one night, desperate for something easy to cook, that wouldn’t be boring, and would hopefully utilize the three bunches of beet greens I kept from the roasted beets. I took a page from Eileen at Ham Pie Sandwiches, and ravioli fit the bill. Especially when it was of the butternut squash, feta, and hazelnut variety. Especially when it was on sale for $3 [it was the Rising Moon Organics brand, in case you were wondering].

I actually made a really valiant effort to save half of it for lunch the next day. Promise. I put my “dinner” portion on a plate [the benefit of shooting a photo] instead of just picking it out piece by piece from the pan with my fingers a fork. I didn’t make it to the table with a proper table setting, though. That rarely happens. I took up residence on the couch. That’s more my style when I’m dining alone. Roma stares at me from the other couch. It’s tradition. I figure if I’m far enough away from the pan, and I get sucked into TWD, then maybe I’d leave it alone.


I definitely went back for seconds while pretending I was going to put my plate in the dishwasher. Cue stabbing ravioli with my fork straight from the pan for a few minutes. At that point, there was 1/4 of the pasta left. I scooped the rest of it onto the plate, and went to the couch to continue an episode. The plate stayed on the coffee table for a good ten minutes before I finished it off. A+ for effort.

I sort of wished I had caramelized the onions before mixing in the beet greens, but that defeated the whole point of making something quick and easy. Softening them still kept them somewhat sweet, which worked well with the somewhat bitter greens. I used a really heavy hand with the olive oil and chile flakes. You know that’s just how I roll. Go big or go home.


  • 1 package frozen or fresh ravioli
  • 3 bunches beet greens, torn, rinsed, and patted dry
  • 1/2 sweet onion, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3-4+ tablespoons olive oil
  • 1+ tablespoons chile flakes


Cook the ravioli according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water before draining and setting aside.

While the pasta cooks, heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a pan on medium high heat. Add the onion, stirring to coat in the oil. Allow it to cook 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally until soft, translucent, and starting to brown. Add the garlic clove for a minute until fragrant. Reduce heat to medium low, and add the beet greens in batches, if necessary. Stir occasionally and cover with a lid [speeds up the wilting]. By the time all of the greens wilt, the pasta should be ready. Add it to the greens mixture. Top with another tablespoon or two of olive oil and chile flakes. Combine with the beet greens, coating everything with the oil. Add more olive oil or pasta water to sufficiently coat everything.

Top with salt, pepper, and/or Parmesan cheese if handy.

Good luck not eating it all.

Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash

Things of note lately—

  • Pretzel buns make a mediocre sandwich borderline awesome
  • A huge breakfast burrito and an egg salad sandwich are wise choices if you plan on drinking for Hurricane Relief
  • Breakfast Jack’s help with any potential hangover…not that I had one
  • A meatball and vegetable calzone makes the time change less painful
  • The my favorite local bar was serving the following election night drink specials—the Hopey Changy, and the Mitt’s Private Sector. Hilarious.
  • A pie float—a pot pie floating in a sea of split pea soup—might be my new favorite food

In lieu of talking about the obnoxious time change or the election, let’s talk about spaghetti squash.

I fell in love with spaghetti squash a long time ago, but I really don’t make it all that often. The last few times I’ve made it [here and here], I went the quick microwaveable route. This time, not so much. I had plenty of time to actually roast it in the oven while I made meatballs and sauce. Roasting definitely makes it better. It definitely makes it take way longer, but that’s okay. I’ll still use the microwave if I need to speed things up, but I implore you to use your ovens at least once when roasting a spaghetti squash if you haven’t yet. It’ll change your world.

Did you know I can eat a whole spaghetti squash by myself? No shame. If you add a delicious kalamata tomato sauce and a bunch of meatballs, though, I have a little bit more of a challenge in eating said entire squash.

Have you ever had cold spaghetti squash and meatballs for breakfast? I have, and I loved all 30 seconds every minute of it. You probably need to like cold pizza for breakfast [my favorite!] before you try that one. I hear some people have issues with that.

Can someone please tell me where I can find ground veal in Portland? Every meatball recipe on the planet likes to call for it, but I can never ever find it in my area.

What kind of non-traditional breakfast foods do you like to eat?

Inspiration: Roost


  • 1 3lb spaghetti squash
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried fennel seeds, chopped
  • 1/2lb ground beef
  • 1/2lb ground pork
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 egg
  • 1 14oz can fire roasted tomatoes, drained
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped


Preheat the oven to 425° and line a baking sheet with a Silpat or aluminum foil. Or don’t, and have fun cleaning. Using a sharp knife, and extreme care, cut the spaghetti squash in half. Place the pieces cut side down on the baking sheet. When the oven is preheated, place the squash in for about 30 minutes. Remove when done and allow to cool.

Heat 1/2 of the butter in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Saute the onions for a couple minutes until soft. Add the garlic and fennel, and cook for only another minute or two more. Bring on that delicious smell! Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, mix the two ground meats, the cooled onion mixture, the egg, Parmesan, a pinch of salt, and parsley. Mix loosely so you don’t end up with dense meatballs. Roll them into nine evenly shaped balls, about the size of ping-pong balls. Heat the remaining butter in your skillet on medium high-heat. Place the meatballs in the pan, in batches if you have to, to brown them on all sides. Really let them sear or you’re going to break them apart while you try to rotate them. Remove them to a paper towel lined plate when you’re done.

In the same pan, add the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and olives. Stir to incorporate. Add the meatballs. Bring to a boil before simmering, covered, for about 30 minutes or until the spaghetti squash is cooled enough to shred and handle. Remember to taste your sauce periodically for seasoning.

To serve, place spaghetti squash on a plate, top with as much sauce and meatballs as you so choose. Drown in a healthy pile of Parmesan.