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How to Beat the Bus Stop Blues

Well, those of you previously lamenting the warm winter temps… I hope you are happy. Winter is here and my morning bus stop is rough… You can find me cowering from the wind, desperately pushing the heat lamp button for relief.

Your snow, your wind and frost tipped trees appeared.

Winter is here.

Guess what winter does to me. It makes me crave all the carbs. All the carbs piled high in sauce.

Perhaps a creamy sauce, one with roasted tomatoes, slowly simmering away. Or a butternut squash sauce.. hmmm..  Topped of with parm and basil… fresh basil.

Like farmers market basil…. that I cannot access for another 5 months at least.  Instead I settle for the “living basil” at my local grocery store and gamble on its longevity.

So in order to beat my bus stop blues, I slice up a butternut squash, roast it away and pray it becomes the sauce my chilled soul is craving.

Sigh. But oo this pasta dish will do.

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So you winter people, join me in some carbs?

You will need:

  • 3/4 Cup of Veggie Broth
  • 1 Cup Heavy Cream or Milk
  • 1 Butternut Squash, Cubed
  • 1 lb Italian Sausage
  • Arugula
  • Handful of Parmesan Cheese
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Egg
  • Handful of Basil
  • 1 12-15 oz Container of Ricotta
  • Cooked Shell Pasta (1 package)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper, Cayenne Optional
  • One Chopped White Onion

Preheat your oven to 400 Degrees. Throw the chopped squash and onions on a baking pan. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast them in the oven for about 40 minutes. While the veggies are roasting, heat olive oil, onion and one clove of garlic. Once the onion has softened,  then throw in and brown the Italian Sausage. Once the sausage is cooked, add three large handfuls of arugula to the pan. This will cook down a ton.

Once the arugula has wilted, take the pan off the heat and set aside. In a mixing bowl add the ricotta, the egg and a touch of salt and pepper. Next add the sausage arugula mixture. Combine until evenly mixed.

Take your sausage ricotta mixture and stuff each shell with about a spoonful and a half.

Once your veggies have roasted, add them to your food processor. Add in cayenne to taste and two whole cloves of garlic, 3/4 cup of veggie stock and the one cup of milk or heavy cream.

 Blend away to a nice smooth consistency. Pour your now butternut squash sauce into the bottom of a baking pan. Place the stuffed shells on top of the sauce in the baking pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling.

Once the sauce bubbles, remove and top with chopped basil and a handful of parmesan cheese.

Dig in, enjoy and forget about those howling winter winds, and tomorrow’s bus stop blues 🙂

 

Cravings: Cuban Style

Friday night and its time for Cuban.  After last Friday’s meh so-so fish fry, Friend and I needed a meal redemption.  Something delicious, warm and 100% better than that fish. ugh.

When I think of this city, Cuban is the last thing that comes to mind, but strangely enough, Friend and I had the same Friday night craving.  So off to Cubanitas we went.

Cuban food for me conjures up a fusion of flavors and transports me to some hole in the wall place in Florida; where the music is flowing and the patrons are laughing, dancing and feasting.

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Well Friday night, I think we left the Midwest behind for a couple hours.  You walk in and are greeted with pumping music, warmth and loud conversations.  Probably fueled by the scrumptious mojitos! Hello Mojito Month! The place was packed and we snagged the last open two top by the windows.  A table by the windows gave us a great view of those who also forgot they were in the Midwest for the moment. (Those who think 35 degrees is spring.  You know tank top and shorts weather?  I counted at least three women in shorts, not even sporting a winter coat.)

You know a place is good, when not only is it packed, but you run into multiple Friends who apparently had the same Friday night craving.

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Even the walls seem to exude warmth, and the family portrait style feels comforting.

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We split the shrimp in garlic sauce with yellow rice.

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Fried Plantains.  Creamy sweet perfection.

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Cuban style guacamole with crispy plantain chips. Hmm salty goodness.  We will be back.

Where is your favorite Cuban restaurant?

Cubanitas on Urbanspoon