Thursday, September 23, 2010


As much as I hate to admit it, I'm a very picky eater! And as far as Gillian Grace is concerned, that apple didn't fall far from the tree. But there is one thing that neither of us allow to linger on our plates---carbs! Like Julia Robert's character said in Eat, Pray, Love, "I'm on a no carb left behind experiment." My sweet bean and I are nuts for noodles, bonkers for breads, and crazy for anything that would send Dr. Atkins or South Beach diehards into a tizzy!

One of my favorite pasta meals of all time is Dad's pasta, appropriately named for the master chef himself, my daddy! I'm not sure what it is about this meal that makes it so scrump-del-li-icious, but this pasta is pure comfort in a bowl!

And remember, if chopping and sauteing at the end of a long day on your feet doesn't sound like your idea of a good time (and let's face it, unless you're Rachael Ray, it doesn't),you can always prep all the ingredients the day before to make cooking a cinch!

Honestly friends, in true Vito Corleone (the Godfather) style, this is one Italian meal you can't refuse!


One large onion
One large red or green pepper (red pepper makes it sweeter)
One clove garlic, sliced
One pound Italian sausage, formed into small balls
One pound mushrooms, sliced
Two 15.5 ounce cans Italian stewed tomatoes
One small can tomato paste (for thicker sauce, add more tomato paste)
Fennel seeds
Cayenne pepper
Pasta of choice (ziti, shells, or twists)


Slice and dice onion and pepper.  Add 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil to large pan and cook pepper on medium heat until it starts to soften.  Add onion and continue cooking pepper and onion until onion starts to look transparent.  Remove onion and pepper from pan and place in bowl.

Add more olive oil, then add sliced garlic to oil and then add mushrooms.  Cook until mushrooms shrink and become soft.  Remove and add to bowl with onion and pepper.

Form sausage into small balls (if using link sausage, remove skin and then form into balls) and cook at medium heat until done.  Cut stewed tomatoes into smaller pieces using a fork or pastry cutter.  Then add stewed tomatoes, tomato paste, onion, peppers, and mushrooms to sausage and simmer on low heat, stirring often.  Add ¼ teaspoon salt,  2 to 3 pinches fennel, 3 to 5 pinches each basil and oregano, and pinch of cayenne pepper (adjust spices to taste).  Cook for at least 30 minutes (longer is better) and then taste again.  Add seasonings as desired.

Cook box of desired pasta per directions on box.


Serve with green salad, garlic bread, and a good red wine.  Serves four adults


See, even Gillian Grace gets excited when this is on the menu!
Like GG's outfit? Want a pillowcase dress in your team's fabric? Stay tuned, tomorrow I'll tell you where to shop!



The McCrystals said...

OMG, I am on a pillowcase dress making frenzy! You don't have to use a pillow case either and they're so easy! You should try it!

Here's the one I made for my niece (not from a pillow case).

Well, I'll try and email it to you. It's not coming up on here.

Wade & Melissa said...

Well, I was going to start P90X tomorrow, but after looking at a few blogs this morning with recipes posted, I am starting that next week! Ha! The pasta looks SOOOO good! *drool*

carissa @ lowercase letters said...

i'm al about carbs too. plus, you need carbs to work out extra hard, right?! when i ran cross country we'd always carb up the night before... that was my favorite part of the whole deal! : ) this meal looks/sounds delish. thanks for sharing the goodness!

Laura@Cowboy Boots said...

you and me both...(and mini me) there isn't a carb i've left uneaten!

in fact last night i made chicken n dumplins...of course mini me asked for more 'bread' in her bowl! haha

Liz said...

Italian is my favorite... and that recipe looks so yummy!! I think I'll be trying that soon!!

I will post pictures as soon as we get home!!! yay!!! And - why in the world do you want a new house? I'm totally in love with the one you have! :)

Budget Savvy Diva said...

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Susan said...

Had we not eaten pasta last night, this would be on tonight's menu. Wait!.....who says you can't eat pasta two nights in a row?
I'm going to the grocery to buy the ingredients right now. However, I will have to add some more carbs and make my famous garlic bread to go with it.
Thanks for sharing this.
Lovin' GGs dress. If I thought I would look as cute in it, I'd wear one, but no one wants to see that.

Kristin @ Ellie-Town said...

That looks delish!

Lindsay said...

Yum! My hubby is a pasta fan so he'd love this. Her dress is adorable! Cant wait to know where its from :)

Cool Gal said...

YUM...that looks delicious. I just made an Ina "cold" pasta salad yesterday. I'm all about the carbs, too. They give you energy. :) I will have to give your recipe a try. Love fennel.

Thanks for telling me about the "under $10" movies at Target. I'm headed there right now to pick-up "The Breakfast Club." Perhaps they will have some more of my 80s favorites ("Sixteen Candles," "Some Kind of Wonderful," "Pretty in Pink," "St. Elmo's Fire," "Fast Times...etc.).

Have a great day!

New Mommy!!! said...

Love Pillow Cast=e Dresses, too cute! Ummm, pasta recipe sounds Fab!! Thanks. Will def try it sometime.

Nik just had Spaghetti last night. That girl LOVES her some spaghetti. She loves to suck the noodles, btu she will also just dip her hands in the sauce and put them in her mouth.But she does not like Bow Tie Pasta. She's okay with ravioli, penne is okay too, but strangely not bow tie. Seriously though, Nik is kinda picky too. Its frustrating bc I make things and she just wont eat them. I'm worried that she doesnt eat enough, but hubs assures me that she is doing just fine, "a Tank" is what he says. I don't know when she eats though bc all i ever see her eat is goldfish, milk, and fruit. Our daycare provider says she eats good over there, sooo.

Nik does not like bread though, does Gilly like bread? Nik loves her pasta and goldfish but no bread or pastries. Sometimes she eats a little piece of garlic bread, but who wouldn't right-loaded in butter?

PeaceLoveApplesauce said...

Oh My Yum.. I'm starving!!

ModernMom said...

Oh your meal sounds fab:) I too can not leave a carb behind, and of course everyting tastes better with wine;0

Thanks so much for the follow, following right back and hope to see you back at my blog soon!

Kristen @ said...

aww yummy! and love that dress! Can't wait (well yes I can, haha) until I have kids I can make clothes for!

Mrs. Southern said...

That pasta looks amazing!!! I'll have to try it. and GG in her pillowcase dress...adorable!!

Liz said...

Being an Italin (and a mafia don), I need to try this.

Gator colors are just like Chicago Bears we can still be friends, right?

KJJ Houston said...

You have to get GG that bath toy, I got it at Toys-r-us They had a few new bath toys and I had a hard time choosin :)

KJJ Houston said...

ps lovin that dress on GG :)

Jennifer said... an Italian princess myself, I would never be able to live my life without carbs! Dad's meal sounds delicious, I may have to try it this weekend. And, of course, GG looks super cute :)

Jen said...

Oh, I love that it's your Dad's recipe! Looks delish! Italian sausage is yum-o!
And GG is a doll!!!

Stephanie M. Page said...

Hey super cute friend, I LOVE PASTA TOO! and my hubby and I got a good laugh out of that pillow case. Thanks bunches for stopping by and your sweet sweet comment. HUGS to you Shannon!

Kuzak's Closet said...

Yum, I love carbs too. Your pasta looks great, I am visiting from New Friend Friday

- Jessi - said...

Wow, that looks delicious! I'm gonna have to try making it & your header picture is adorable. Visiting from New Friend Fridays!

mama k said...

Yum! That pasta looks delicious!

Lexie Loo & Dylan Too said...

That looks DELICIOUS!!!
Noodles, bread, and crackers are the only foods that Lexie will eat. ;)