I am a big fan of all food Italian, Olive Garden is one of my fav restaurants, you could give me just about anything on that menu and I'd love it. My own Italian Jobs (jobs=dishes) at home though have been pretty boring...ground beef, marinara sauce, mushrooms, pick-a-pasta, cheese....same ingredients, different varieties. Until now!
Lately I've discovered the joys of using Italian sausage (mild, ground) instead of ground beef. I mean, hello, making an Italian dish SHOULD include Italian sausage! It's great since you don't need to add ANY spice, it is already deliciously pre-spiced! Time saver, *Like*! Also, less fatty than ground beef (except for really lean) since it's made with pork. Healthier, also *Like*!
Now, this has inspired me to get even more experimental with my Italian Jobs (IJs), adding more veggies! I've occasionally thrown in a few stewed tomatoes, or a sprinkle of onions, or spinach in my previous IJs, maybe some red peppers once, but I'm usually averse to more veggies than meat and sauce. So this time I decided my IJ was going to look more like Rachel Ray's than my own, I threw in onion, stewed tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, roasted red peppers, green peppers (ack! I may start liking this veggie hated since childhood!), hardly any sauce, mostly just mixed it with juices from meat and from stewed tomatoes.
And then, the piece du resistance, I know RR, being a good Italian, likes to throw Pancetta in to a lot of her authentic IJs, so I fried up some bacon (basically a fattier, less smokey, version of the same) and tossed that into the pan as well! Hubby's going to love me! Simmered that all together for awhile and boy the smell was enough to drive me crazy.
The smell did not deceive, this was the best IJ I have made to date! Delish! I didn't even smother it all in cheese like I usually do (trying to save calories) and I barely even noticed I was missing cheese! Whoa! Even the extra juices at the bottom of the pan....I slurped them up *blush*. Those drippings would make for a most fabulous soup! I'll have to remember to make some soup with it next time :) Cause there is definitely going to be a next time!
By the way, here is a great place/blog to check out more homemaking and house-wifery!