We all know we should eat at home more and not spend all of our money on sodium-packed, fatty takeout. Blah, blah blah. This is way easier said than done in a world (er, city? Is this really just a New York thing?) where delicious, hot, restaurant food is delivered to your door, regardless of the weather. When all you have to do is summon dinner via your smartphone and pay for it with the click of a button, the temptation level is high. Even Mr. Dan Hyun, the ultimate why-would-we-order-takeout-when-we-live-within-walking-distance-from-100-restaurants guy has had his life transformed by Seamless. Order whatever you're craving, walk the dog, get home, food arrives within moments. It's the perfect progression of events, on par with game, set match or "set it and forget it."
But should we really be giving into our cravings so often? That's what ordering lunch at work is for! The problem is (at least for me), when I go grocery shopping on the weekend, I do so with every intention of eating lots of leafy green veggies and grilled fish all week. Then, Wednesday rolls around and something cheesy is required to get me through hump day, leaving me no choice but to order an overstuffed quesadilla. That's what I get for not being honest with myself about my guilty pleasures while perusing the aisles of Fairway on a Sunday.
Then, there's the time thing. Everyone always ends up being busier and more tired during the workweek than we anticipate. You have to wait for a treadmill at the gym, the subway had signal failure, and your long-lost cousin is, surprise!, in town and you have to meet up for a drink. Suddenly it's 8:30 before you're settling down for dinner. This is why you need to be armed at all times with a satisfying, homemade meal that you can whip up in no time... and has cheese.
Over the years, I've perfected mine and can now put together a perfect portion of my ravioli with sausage and kale in about twelve minutes. The secret to a trusty recipe like this? Know your ingredients! I buy the same ingredients every time so that I'll know exactly how they'll react and how long they take to cook. Plus, they taste good together. Find the recipe for my ravioli with kale and sausage below and while I give you suggestions for which brands to buy, feel free to get flexible. Once you find a combo of brands that work for you, stick to them for the most reliable, busy-gal recipe you'll ever find.
Ravioli with Kale and Sausage
Olive oil 1 tsp Red pepper flakes Rafetto's cheese and spinach medium ravioli, 8 pieces 1 pre-cooked Aidell's sausage (I go with something a bit sweet, usually chicken and apple or artichoke and garlic) Fresh kale, chopped and cleaned 1-2 tsp grated pecorino cheese Freshly ground pepper, salt
1. First, set some water to boil on the stove. For one portion, I can get away with a medium saucepan for eight ravioli. As soon as you get home, get this on the stove!
2. As you're bringing your water to a boil, heat a glug of olive oil in a skillet on medium-high heat. When it's hot, stir in the red pepper flakes. While those toast, slice up your sausage. I ALWAYS used pre-cooked sausage here as a major time saver. Toss that in and brown the sausage pieces, on all sides. About 6 minutes.
3. Once the sausage is browned, toss in a BIG handful of kale. My handful usually fills the skillet, but as the kale wilts, will take up way less space. To speed things up, pour in 1/3 cup of water to steam the kale. Season with a bit of salt. (I like to buy a bunch of kale on the weekend. I clean, dry and chop it on Sunday and then keep it in the fridge, ready to toss into pasta dishes or use for salad throughout the week.)
4. Usually around this time is when my pasta water comes to a boil. Toss in your ravioli to cook, which will take just 3 minutes, tops.
5. Continue to cook kale and sausage, stirring occasionally, until water is cooked off. If anything sticks to the bottom of the pan, gets too hot, or starts to burn, add in more water... keep it warm and not burning until the ravioli is ready!
6. As the ravioli float to the top of the water, spoon them out and into your pan of kale and sausage. It's OK if you spoon a little bit of the pasta water in the process-- it'll help to bind everything together, creating a little "sauce" with all of the pan scrapings. Toss everything together in the skillet to combine.
7. Transfer to a bowl, top with cheese, a light drizzle of olive oil and a pinch or two of freshly ground pepper.
Makes one serving.