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One-dish Pasta and Beans

We blog about this recipe here.

One-dish Pasta and Beans

Don’t let the somewhat long list of (vegetarian) ingredients scare you off.  Many of them are optional.  The recipe comes together rather quickly.

  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes (or whole ones that you crush with your hands); do NOT drain
  • 1 3/4 c vegetable broth (or make it half white wine and half vegetable broth)
  • 1 can of white beans – such as cannellini, drained and rinsed – or 1 1/2 c home-cooked white beans
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme (optional)
  • salt to taste
  • 3 oz dried lasagna noodles broken into about 1″ pieces; ditalini or macaroni (NOT broken) can be used instead of the broken lasagna
  • 2 c chopped chard or escarole or spinach
  • grated parmesan for topping (optional)

Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, vegetable broth, beans and seasonings, including salt, bring to a boil and add the lasagna pieces.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the lasagna is cooked – about 15 minutes.  Add a little more broth at this point if you want soup-y rather than stew-y.  Stir in the chard and cook over medium heat until the chard is wilted, about 1 minute.

Taste again and add salt, if necessary.

Serve in small bowls, topped with the parmesan.

Recipe brought to you by and Andy and Ann.


Pasta and Noodles

Baked Penne & (maybe) Sausage Pasta 
Basmati Rice & Orzo 
Conchiglie with Yogurt and Peas and Chile
Longevity Noodles
Mom’s Tuna Noodle Casserole
One Dish Pasta and Beans
Orecchiette with Asparagus and Peas 
Ramen Noodle and Edamame Salad
Sesame Noodles with Asparagus Tips
Sesame Noodles with Zucchini and Ground Beef
Summer Squash and Corn Pasta
Super Simple Spaghetti
Vietnamese Chicken and Rice Noodle Salad







Let’s Skip the Meat: Main Dishes

Andy’s Breakfast Burritos
Angel Hair Pasta and Tomatoes and Basil 
Baked Beans on Toast
Baked Penne & (maybe) Sausage Pasta
Basic Red Beans and Rice
Breakfast Lunch and Dinner Fried Rice 
Butternut Squash and Kale Tacos
Colorado-ish Potato and Green Chile Stew
Conchiglie with Yogurt and Peas and Chile
Jamaican Rice and Beans
Open Face Toasted Cheese Sandwich
Limpin’ Susan
Marcella Hazan’s Super Simple Tomato Pasta Sauce 
One Dish Pasta and Beans
Okonomiyaki (As You Like It Japanese Pancakes)
Orecchiette with Asparagus and Peas 
Scrambled Egg Tacos with Salsa Verde
Scrambled Eggs with Spinach, Goat Cheese, and Pita Bread
Sesame Noodles with Asparagus Tips
Summer Squash and Corn Pasta
Super Simple Molletes – or Mexican Toasted Cheese Sandwiches
Super Simple Quesadillas
Vegetarian Black Bean Chili




Baked Penne & (maybe) Sausage Pasta

Baked Penne & (maybe) Sausage Pasta

  • Servings: 4
  • Print

This recipe has been in my files for so long that the former 32 oz. standard can of tomatoes the recipe called for has now been reduced to 28 oz.  I wonder if we’re paying almost 10% less for that can?  Dream on.

This is a lasagna for those of us too lazy to make lasagna.  As with almost all pasta dishes, it’s a winner for the one or two person home.  It will reheat fabulously and freeze fabulously.  Make the whole thing!  You’re going to love having that extra amount.  And play with it; add chopped up spinach – fresh or frozen and defrosted – to the sauce before you mix it with the penne.   Switch out the kind of pasta; change the sausage to ground beef or ground chicken – or to easily make it vegetarian, saute 2 cups sliced mushrooms and/or chopped zucchini instead of the meat, drain off most of the liquid, and proceed.


  • 2 T olive oil (divided)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 lb – 1 lb hot Italian sausage – link or bulk (I used Caggiano, a Petaluma sausage company.  Delicious!)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 c red wine
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp oregano (or 1/4 c chopped fresh oregano)
  • 1/2 c water (we’ve got to make up for that smaller size can of tomatoes  – see above!)
  • 1 c ricotta cheese (fresh is great but not essential)
  • 1 c pecorino cheese, grated (parmesan works fine too)
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/3 c parsley, chopped
  • 1 lb penne rigate (mine was #41, whatever that means)
  • 1/2 lb mozzarella (again fresh is great but not essential), cut into about 1″ chunks

Heat the oven to 425 degrees.  Lightly oil either 2 8″x8″ baking dishes or 1 9″x13″ baking dish.  (Most of you, cooking for one or two, will opt for the 2 dishes, so you can freeze one).

Heat 1 T olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.  Add the onion and saute until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and sausage and saute until the sausage is nearly cooked.  If there’s lots of grease, drain most of it off.  Add the red wine and simmer the mixture until the wine has almost evaporated.  Then add the can of tomatoes, the oregano, and the 1/2 c water, and bring the mixture back to a boil, and (without a lid) simmer for about 10 minutes.  The sauce should have thickened slightly.  Add a pinch of salt and pepper, if needed.

In a large bowl (that LARGE is important) mix the ricotta with about half of the pecorino, the nutmeg, and the parsley.  Add a pinch of salt.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the penne until al dente (mine took about 11 minutes).  Drain it and add the ricotta mixture, tossing so that all the pasta is coated.  Then add the sausage and its sauce to the pasta/ricotta mixture, followed by the chunks of mozzarella.

Pour the mixture into the oiled baking dish (or dishes).  Sprinkle the remaining pecorino on top and bake uncovered for about 20 – 30 minutes, or until steamy hot in the middle. If you want to keep the dish for a day or so before you serve it, refrigerate it unbaked, then bring it to room temperature before baking.  If you’re freezing a dish, cover it tightly and freeze it unbaked.  When you’re ready to eat it, let it sit out of the freezer for at least an hour or so, then add the pecorino on top and put it in the oven.  Be sure the container is oven-proof.  The frozen pasta can also be microwaved, but it won’t be quite as tasty as if you bake it in the oven.

Recipe brought to you by Andy and Ann and Big Little Meals.

New Beginnings

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Do we need to make New Year’s resolutions about food?  If so, Harvard Medical School offers up “Six Simple Ways to Smarter, Healthier Eating.”  I’ve read it – and lots of other articles with nutrition advice – carefully.  Harvard’s #6 is the absolute best: “Plan meals that are delightful, delicious and healthy.”  (I would probably add that planning is not enough; you need to also COOK and EAT the meal you plan! 🙂 )

Please note though – I’m not giving up totally on salt or sugar or bacon or coffee or red meat or butter – or wine – as this new year starts.  I did, however, many moons ago give up drinking almost all juices, eating ultra-processed food and most pasta (which, all on my own, I decided made me gain weight).  I never eat more than half of a sandwich, and I try to have desserts around only when we have company.

Admittedly, I intend my last meal on earth to be spritz cookie batter – made with a blend of butter (preferably Kerrygold) and sugar (definitely cane, not coconut – a family insider joke).  I’d be the first to say that Julia Child and I could have been soul sisters in our love of butter.  High on my 2020 Bucket List is a visit to Bella la Crema,  a new innovative “butter bar” the next time we’re near Lyons, Colorado.  Yay, Colorado! Yay having friends we want to visit in Boulder!

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That said,  a keeper resolution is that Andy and I will cut back on the amount of beef and lamb and pork we eat – for the earth’s health maybe even more than our own health.  For the time being, I’ll pass on plant-based meat.

I most definitely intend to follow Harvard’s suggestion #2:  Harness the power of nuts (and seeds).  Here are a couple of articles to support this.

8 Health Benefits of Nuts

Super Seeds and Nuts You Should Include in Your Diet

Both are well worth a read – and we’ve added them to our Food for Thought (lots of articles there are worth a read!).

To accompany this 2020 resolution of mine, let me share a few nutty family stories and recipes.  Clearly, the family is very seedy 🙂  And – on another note – Andy was quite tweedy in his “higher” education LSU position – that is until he became quite needy in his “hire” as an adjunct.  See today’s Andy’s Corner!

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Picture this:  it’s 4:30 pm on Christmas day.  Your family has all agreed to contribute something to the Christmas dinner.  Your daughter is putting the finishing touches on her Moroccan stew; your son just iced his pumpkin bundt cake; his partner is preparing a preserved-lemon dressing for her Moroccan salad.  Your older grandson….well…let’s just say a roasted carrot dip never happened 🙂

Your small kitchen is pretty hectic about now….and then your 14-year-old grandson (i.e., Moss – of guest blogging fame) announces he’s ready to make his appetizers – which will be cracker/crisps – from scratch.  And he has never made them before.  And they have to chill in the freezer for at least an hour.

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This is not our grandson Moss making crackers or Moss in our kitchen – but it is Moss making a chocolate cake for his 14th birthday! Note: sugary, chocolate-y cakes should most definitely be allowed on birthdays!

Deep breathing.  It will all be fine.

About 2 hours later (after mixing, baking, chilling, slicing and then re-baking the cracker/crisp dough), we all sit down to taste the just-out-of-the-oven homemade appetizer cranberry nut cracker/crisps – served with fig jam and brie.  And they are delicious!

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Fortunately, Ono Moore, our Siamese cat, is not fond of blue cheese or fig jam or even Nutty Seedy Fruity Crisps

Earlier in December our daughter tipped me off to Sikil-P’ak – both a healthy and unusual pumpkin seed dip – which she served at a recent All-Ladies party.  She was also responsible for the recipe for spiced nuts, which I’ve included, straight from her Picnics cookbook.  Both of these recipes are perfect for incorporating nuts and seeds into your 2020 diet – and loving every bite.

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