Amazingly, I can say it and even think about it without much sadness. I’ve done a lot of thinking about why. Am I a callous mom? Shouldn’t I have cried when I dropped her off? Don’t I miss her? Well I miss her a ton, but I think it comes down to how incredibly excited I am for her. Yes I was that kid–I LOVED school, and so now I am living vicariously through my children. Call me a dork, but I have already baked treats for her class.
But anyway, that first day, when it was back to being just me and Sammy and yet in a whole new way, a wow this won’t just be 2 days a week anymore way, I asked Sammy if she wanted to help me plan dinner, and she said yes and could we have noodles please. This is what came of it. It’s somewhat out of my comfort zone, and I found, to my surprise, that I rather liked it. So did the rest of the family, although the kids predictably avoided the escarole a little.
1 cup dried white beans
1 small onion, chopped4 cloves garlic, minced
1 T extra virgin olive oil
8 oz dried penne noodles
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 small-medium onion, slice
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 t red pepper flakes
2 cups sliced crimini mushrooms
2 links sausage of choice (I used a portobello chicken sausage), sliced into half-moons
1/2 cup white wine
1 T chopped fresh sage
1 medium head of escarole, chopped
shredded Asiago cheese for garnish
Begin by making the beans. If you prefer to use canned beans, I recommend having chicken stock on hand, but I used bean broth to make this dish. Place the beans, 1 small onion (chopped), 4 minced cloves of garlic and 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a pot. Cover the beans by 2 inches with water. Bring to a rolling boil for 5 minutes, and then cover and simmer until the beans are tender. When they are nearly tender, add salt to taste and continue cooking until done. Set aside.
Cook the penne in a pot of salted boiling water until slightly less done than your desired doneness (they will continue cooking in the drainer and then cook further when mixed into the dish). Drain and set aside.
Heat the remaining tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a large nonstick pan on medium high heat. When it shimmers, add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until golden and fragrant, about 1 minute. Then add the onion with a pinch of salt and cook until lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until they have given off their liquid. Add the sausage and brown. Deglaze the pan with the white wine–cook until all of the liquid has evaporated.
Add the white beans with about 1 1/2 cups of their broth and the chopped sage. Add the escarole and cover the pan for 2 minutes. Then toss the dish, distributing all of the ingredients evenly. Salt and pepper to taste. When the escarole has cooked down to your desired taste, add the pasta and toss it in. Loosen with more bean broth or chicken stock if necessary. Top with shredded Asiago cheese before serving.