Minimalism can feel like a series of roadblocks. How do I minimize the things I “love?” Like the 5 different sets of pots and pans (Le Creuset, Mauviel, Staub, Stainless Steel, Non-Stick), each with their own cleaning peccadilloes. Or what about the 300+ cookbooks in my library? More than half of which I haven’t touched in over a year! Reference. A girl’s gotta have reference material!
The reality is you don’t….have to own so many things to have a full life! The internet is one big, giant encyclopedia where recipes abound making it easy to digitally keep what you love – pin in, Reddit, tweet or email it. So why can’t I convince myself to keep only those cookbooks I will lovingly splash with stains, bookmark or decorate with fingerprints?
Excuse #1: Well, for one thing, I’ve already bought them, so what’s the harm in keeping them? Excuse #2: They’re already organized by color on my bookshelves. So pretty! Excuse #3: Your taste buds regenerate every 10 days to two weeks. Just think about what you’ll crave next week! But in all actuality, so many cookbooks have only a handful of recipes that you might make. Even less call you to stove and whisk. Far fewer will keep you lounging at the table, spoon lazily dipping from plate to mouth.
So here is my promise to my mission statement – I will only keep those cookbooks from which I’ve made two or more recipes. Of the remaining selections, I will store those with a 75% enticement rate. The average cookbook includes 90-100 recipes. Therefore, 68-75 of the recipes must find me setting the kitchen timer, waiting at the oven, and mad hungry…within 90 days…when I promise I will try to let go! There’s no crying in baseball!
No idea what the goal is for my pans yet! Guess I’ll go make a lovely spicy sausage and shells casserole to prove I really really love them! <3
- 8oz pasta shells, prepped per instruction
- 6oz kielbasa sausage, sliced
- 1½ tablespoons butter
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup heavy cream (for a lighter version, sub with chicken stock)
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 1/4 cup Parmiggiano Reggiano, grated
- 1 cup Mozzarella (or Provolone), grated
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
- Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
- Preheat the broiler to high.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and a sliver of oil, stir and cook until the pasta is al dente. Drain and set aside until ready to use.
- Meanwhile, slice the kielbasa and add to a preheated frying pan with 1 tablespoon of water. Fry until the water is dissolved and the sausage is caramelized.
- Next, melt the butter in the pan and add the garlic, cooking until softened (about 1-2 minutes). Sprinkle with the all-purpose flour cooking until the flour is dissolved (about 1 minute). Working quickly, whisk in the heavy cream (or chicken stock), half-and-half, cayenne and red pepper flakes stirring until the flour is incorporated and the sauce slightly thickened. Season to taste.
- Whisk in half of the grated parm and mozzarella (or provolone) continuing to cook until the cheese is melted. Stir in the pasta and decant into a small casserole dish. Top with the remaining cheese and broil on high until the cheese is melted and the casserole is bubbling (about 5-7 minutes depending on how close your casserole is to your broiler). Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve immediately.