Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Good Times

In 2010, my husband was transferred and promoted to a position in West Texas.  I had been a court reporter for 14 years at that point, and I was a little burned out.  He told me that I should change things up and do whatever I wanted.  I took a job that is a little closer to my heart at a family-owned bakery and restaurant.  It's a pretty popular restaurant, and it has great hours.  The restaurant closes at 4:00, so I don't have to work late very often, except for catering events and during holidays.  And let me tell you, it was the best decision I've ever made.  Cooking is my passion, and I get to do it all day. While I don't bring home a large salary, I enjoy getting up and going to work every day.  That is something a lot of people can't say.

We have a blast at work too.  The owner is there every day, and it is really like we are all family.  We carry on and joke around on a daily basis.  There have been food fights and pranks.  One time, while working on the line, my boss threw a slice of turkey at me, kind of like a frisbee.  It smacked me on the cheek and stuck there.  It even made a sound.  We were laughing so hard we nearly peed our pants.  During Thanksgiving and Christmas, we make cases and cases of whipped cream.  You can only imagine the whipped cream wars that happen.  We had an employee once that was deathly afraid of bugs and spiders.  At least once a week she found the boss' plastic bugs in a box of bacon or somewhere on the line.  All in all, it truly is a great place to work and I love it.

Anywho, that really has nothing to do with the recipe I'm sharing today.  I just wanted to share a little bit of fun first. This recipe is Sausage & Asparagus Pasta.  It has leeks and tomatoes and Parmesan cheese.  And, instead of making a thick sauce, I used the pasta water to make a much lighter sauce.  And it was fabulous!  I hope you enjoy it.  And, if you have the opportunity to do something you love, go and do it. You won't regret it!

1 lb bulk Italian sausage
Olive oil
2 T butter
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 C water
3 cloves garlic, minced
Red pepper flakes, to taste
Salt & pepper, to taste
1 lb linguine
1/2 to 3/4 C shredded Parmesan cheese, to taste
1 leek, cleaned and chopped
3 Roma tomatoes, diced
2 T Italian parsley, chopped
1 lemon

Cook the pasta according to directions.  Reserve about 4 C of the pasta water for the sauce.

Meanwhile, drizzle some olive oil in a large skillet and melt in the butter. Cook the leek until mostly tender.  Add in the sausage and cook and brown until done.  Add in the asparagus, garlic, 1/2 C water, and season with salt, pepper, and the chili flakes. Cover, reduce the heat slightly, and simmer until the asparagus is tender.  Add in the tomatoes and cook a few minutes to soften the tomatoes.  Uncover and add in the Parmesan cheese, Italian parsley, and the juice of the lemon.  Add in ladle-fulls of the pasta water one at a time, stirring well between additions.  Add in enough of the pasta water to desired consistency of the sauce.  Stir the sauce and the pasta together.  Serve with additional Parmesan cheese, if desired.

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