San Francisco Pasta

I cannot believe summer is coming to an end. This one went by way to fast for me.

It’s probably my age. I hear time goes by quicker as you get older. Unfortunately, I keep getting older. I don’t actually mind getting older.

School starts Monday here in Vegas. We have spent the week getting the kids ready for school, buying school supplies and school appropriate clothes. My kids keep getting taller, especially Jack. He grows out of shoes and jeans every other month, it seems. It’s ridiculous. My niece, Ruby, is getting very excited about starting her new school here in the United States, especially since she doesn’t have to wear a uniform to school anymore. I told her to just wait because uniforms are so much easier. It’s so much harder having to come up with an outfit each day.

I am enjoying having another mouth to feed in the house. I keep asking Ruby what her favorite food is and she hasn’t come up with an answer yet. Although, so far, I think it’s Claud’s Shepherd’s pie. She absolutely loved eating that. I am still waiting to make her absolute favorite meal once she figures that out.

The other night, I couldn’t decide what to make for dinner. I had some brown rice pasta which I really like and wanted to make something good using this pasta. Now that I have two meat eaters in the house, Claud and Ruby, I try to make sure I incorporate meat more often. I decided I’d add grilled chicken for my meat eaters. I also made a vegetable topping for the pasta and those who wanted chicken could add it on top. So, I had a vegetable version and a meat version of the same meal. Then, I realized, Jack would never eat this. I heated up some marinara sauce for Jack. He only eats pasta with marinara and cheese. I shredded some cheddar cheese. Okay, I had everyone covered.

I kept everything separate from each other and let each person pile on their own toppings. I managed to feed everyone in the family with food each person enjoys, all five of us. They all seemed pretty pleased. I didn’t get any complaints and everything was consumed. That’s always a good sign.

This morning as I sat staring at my computer the way I always do when I am about to write my article, I looked over at Claud and said, “What do I call that pasta I made with the vegetables and chicken? Should I call it, ‘pasta with vegetables and chicken?’ ” He crinkled up his nose as if to reject that title. “That’s pretty boring,” he said. I asked if he had any other ideas. He came up with the best answer ever! At least, I thought it was a very clever response.

“When I ran the restaurants in London, whenever we couldn’t come up with a name of a dish, we would just name it after a city.” I smiled because I was completely amazed at what a great idea that was. It seemed sneaky but good. “Should I call it San Francisco Pasta? That sounds so much more intriguing than pasta with chicken.” He thought that was appropriate. He said, “The trick is to think about the city. San Francisco is in California and California is known for light and healthy food. So, San Francisco pasta sounds good.”

I went online and checked out some of San Francisco’s most iconic dishes and there were a couple of pastas on there and a salad with chicken. So, I think this dish would fit in quite nicely in a San Francisco restaurant. Anyway, if nothing else, this is just a fun name. It’s so easy to make and you can fix it anyway you please. Load it up with the works: chicken, cheese, sauce and veggies or keep it light with only the vegetables. Well, either way, it is a delicious and healthy meal for all types of picky eaters.

San Francisco Pasta

Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (optional)

teaspoon salt

teaspoon pepper

teaspoon Emeril’s Essence

3 cups Brussels sprouts, cut in half

1 package penne pasta, cooked according to directions on package

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 small yellow onion, diced

cup roasted red peppers, cut into half inch pieces

5 small tomatoes

1 clove garlic, chopped

3 cups marinara sauce, heated

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar (optional)

Cover the thighs in the mixture of salt, pepper, Essence and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Set aside. Steam the Brussels sprouts for fifteen minutes. Heat a grill pan or the grill to medium high. In a skillet or wok, heat the other tablespoon of olive oil on medium high heat. Once the oil is hot in the wok, add the onions and saut for five minutes. Add the red peppers, tomatoes and garlic to the onions. Drain the Brussels sprouts and add to the onion mixture. Continue to saut for another five minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour the marinara sauce and vegetables over the cooked pasta. Top with chicken and add cheese.

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