When it comes to getting weeknight dinners on the table in a hurry, I look for recipes that contain just a few, fresh ingredients, come together in less than 30 minutes, and require minimal cleanup. With the Fall season in full swing, it seems like I've been reaching for my Smithey Cast Iron Skillet on a nightly basis to prepare simple but delicous one-pot meals. If you're only going to invest in one skillet for the rest of your life, this one is it! These babies are not only gorgeous but they are a serious kitchen workhorse. They can go from stovetop (or grill) to oven, are naturally non-stick*, and emit and retain an even, high heat that cooks and flavors food unlike any other cookware.
*A Smithey Cast Iron Skillet ain't your big box or grocery store skillet. Compared to other mass-produced cast iron which has a rough, sandpaper-like cooking surface, Smitheys are honed down to a glassy. satin-smooth finish, making them virtually non-stick, right out of the box. Just an initial "seasoning" with a little oil over high heat, and you'll be on your way to great cooking. Sear steaks or fish, fry eggs, carmelize vegetables, bake a cornbread, and whip up a one-skillet wonders with abandon!
One Skillet Pastas
Pastas are always a popular and easy choice for weeknight meals, but if you want to really impress your family, combine all that carbohydrate goodness with protein and vegetables cooked to perfection in your Smithey. With the help of a spicy Arrabbiata Spice/Sauce blend from Wildtree, my favorite chicken sausage from Lowes Foods, and comforting Italian produce, weeknight dinners will be anything but boring!
Have you tried Lowes Foods "Wonderfully Wacky" house-made sausage? If not, you're missing out! Their sausage features locally made pork, beef, and chicken sausages in an unbelievable amount of flavors, from the familiar crowd-pleasers to the “are they insane?” combinations. I love The Silician - an iconically Italian blend of salt, pepper, fennel, anise and house-made Italian chicken sausage. It's great in pasta dishes like this and also thrown on the grill with peppers and onions.
- 14-16oz short pasta (Depending on the size of the pasta)
- 2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1lb Lowes Foods SausageWorks No:7 The Sicilian Chicken Sausage (about 4 links, cut into chunks)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 of a large eggplant, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 large yellow pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half or thirds depending on their size
- 1 Tbsp. Wildtree Arrabbiata Spice/Sauce Blend (This blend contains red pepper flakes and does have quite a kick! Use less if you don't want as much heat. )
- 1 cup Baby Spinach
- 4 oz high-quality sheep's milk feta cheese, crumbled into large chunks
- Pecorino Cheese, grated for garnish
- 1 cup Basil or parsley, (or both!), quick chopped, for garnish
- Bring a large stockpot filled with water to a boil. Add the short pasta and cook to al dente, according to the package instructions. Drain and reserve to toss with sausage and veggies.
- In a large skillet (our No 12 Smithey Cast Iron skillet is perfect for this dish) over medium heat, add olive oil and the sausage. Brown for several minutes; break up into small pieces. (I love both our Silicone Spoonula and wood composite Angled Turner. These kitchen utensils can stand up to high heat, thoroughly cut through the sausage, and scrape up all of the yummy carmelized food bits on the bottom of the skillet.)
- Add the garlic, eggplant, peppers, cherry tomatoes and Arrabbiata Spice Blend. Give a stir with your spoonula and let cook down, about 10 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes.
- Add spinach. Let cook down and become wilty, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Add feta chunks and reserved pasta to skillet. Drizzle with a little olive oil and give entire mixture a good stir.
- Transfer directly to the table to serve family style - be careful though - the skillet stays extremely hot - or serve to individul plate. Garnish with basil and/or parsley and grated Pecorino cheese.
Interested in learning more about Wildtree's Meal Planning Solutions including pantry goods like the Arrabbiata Spice Blend? We're hosting a Wildtree workshop - tomorrow morning October 9th at 11AM - at the shop. Stop in to see the product line, learn more, and taste some samples. (Rumor has it, there may be a mimosa bar, too!)
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