When I graduated from NYU in May, I had a very clear picture in my mind of a life that involved going to work, going to the gym, and then coming home and cooking all my meals. I imagined that a life without homework would allow me to be in complete control of my health. I was going to throw my energy into my career and whilst effortlessly getting into the best shape of my life. Right.
Then I realized that “real life” jobs carry the equivalent of finals week stress – all the time. My day-to-day life began to involve a lot more “leaving the office at 10, grabbing a burrito, and passing out in my work clothes” than it did “leaving the office at 6, making a salad, and doing yoga in my immaculately clean apartment.”
My Sundays suddenly felt far too valuable to spend 2 hours going to the grocery store, and the 3 waking hours I have after work most days too short to spend an hour and a half cooking every night.
Long story short – with the exception of occasional scrambled eggs on the weekends and yogurt for breakfast every morning at my desk, I have eaten out/taken out nearly every meal since summer – I am not proud of this. I broke the cycle this weekend and pulled out one of my favorite recipes from my restaurant days – mac and cheese with sausage, broccoli, tomato, garlic, ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan, basil, and rosemary.
The spread – (let’s pretend that parsley is actually basil and rosemary):
1lb pasta (I used fusilli)
1 lb whole milk ricotta cheese
2 oz Parmesan cheese
2 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 cups half and half
1 8oz can diced tomatoes
4-5 cloves garlic
1/2 pound (2 links) Italian sausage (optional)
1 1/2 cups frozen broccoli (optional)
1. Sauté can of diced tomatoes with 4-5 cloves chopped garlic and salt until liquid is gone.
2. Cook them wieners (I did mine in a cake pan, because you have to work what you’ve got) – 425° for 25-30 min, flip halfway.
3. Get a big bowl. Combine ricotta, parm, and mozzarella.
4. Start boiling 1lb of pasta in salted water (properly salted water should taste like the ocean. DON’T UNDER SALT YOUR PASTA WATER).
5. Bring half and half to simmer/light boil.
6. Chop your herbs.
7. Add reduced tomatoes to cheese mixture
8. Combine cooked pasta, heated half and half, chopped sausage, and herbs with cheese and tomato mixture. The hot pasta and half and half will melt the cheese and create melty goodness.
9. Eat your delicious creation. I sautéed some frozen broccoli and added it after the fact, but like the sausage, this is optional!
January comfort food that’s not Seamless! Progress.