We were in a cooking rut. Like a bad one. Just because (or maybe because) I mainly make a living off of food, it doesn't mean that the husband and I don't get bored eating the same things each week. We were in a salad pizza, omelette wrap, grits kind of rut. And admittedly....beyond greens, the produce was few and far between. I think it was the freezing winter and a lack of motivation to think about dinner or be out from under layers of sweaters for more than a few minutes at a time. But finally Spring snapped and our sense of menu exploration was renewed. Thank God.
One of the ways we deal with menu fatigue is that I get a 'night off' of cooking. I actually love to cook- it's in no way a chore or a 'housewifey' thing that I happen to be the primary cook. But sometimes the Husband cooks and he always makes things I love (he's also way more patient with spices and finite flavors so everything is always seasoned impeccably). It helps me relax and also, is it me or does food taste better when you're not the one making it?
THIS is one of the things he makes, and it's become a staple in our warm weather menu: Stuffed pasta on veggies.
Pasta can fit in a healthy life. When people insinuate pasta itself is unhealthy, I roll my eyes. It's not the pasta. It's usually the massive quantities and the sauces it's paired with. The fact that people can literally not control how much pasta they're eating from a big plate. Basically anything is less healthy when you're eating four cups of it and it's smothered in a heavy cream and egg yolk sauce. As annoying as it is to say, pasta is about moderation. And the only way you're getting full off of a true serving of pasta is to pair it with protein and lots of fiber from veggies.
The other half is balance in the way of: how can you make this dish delicious and not make you feel like shi* after eating it (heavy, weighed down, indigestion)? Luckily, the answer is the same as how to resolve moderation. If you honestly ask someone who wolfs down a casual dining chain plate of Alfredo how they feel an hour later, they probably feel awful. Neither of us feels good if we eat a whole plate of ravioli and no veggies.
Throughout the summer as our CSA (community supported agriculture share) comes in, the formula stays the same but the ingredients shift based on what we have. Since the CSA starts delivering at the end of the month, I'll show you guys later some other options for how to use the same essence of the dish with different flavor themes. Because seriously, here's one recipe for dinner we made last summer that was with squash and tomatoes and basil and it was amazing.
Ricotta Red Pepper Ravioli and Greens
fresh or frozen ricotta stuffed ravioli (3 large per serving)
chopped red pepper
chopped roasted herb tomatoes
sprinkle of chopped Italian meat (eg pepperoni, salami...)
sprinkle of strong cheese (eg feta)
huge base of greens (we did spinach but you could do Swiss Chard, Collards, Kale etc...)
salt and fresh ground pepper
Directions: Chop the veggies and compose the base. Cook pasta and drain. Arrange on top and sprinkle with meat/cheese/extras. If the filling isn't enough 'dressing' for you, toss with a light balsamic dressing.
Dietitian Nutritionist. My husband Chris and I create food and beverage photos, videos, stopmotions and recipes. And they're really cool.