I really wanted to make something special for the third night of Chanukah on Monday. The first two nights we were out with friends and although the ritual of lighting the menorah was completed both evenings, there was certainly nothing traditional about the food. So as the week began, I decorated the rest of our home and dressed Mo in his festive t-shirt to get more in the spirit.
Yet even while surrounded by an abundance of dreidels (including one dog toy that repeatedly plays the dreidel song. Every time you touch it. Thanks Jeff and Caity…), I ended up with a meal that was not only unChanukah-like, (that’s a word, right?) but also not even Kosher. My one saving grace was that I sautéed my ingredients in oil, which is pretty much the only general rule when preparing foods over the course of these 8 days. So that kind of counts.
You see as I was making a grocery list for my extravagant menu ideas, I reminded myself to look inside my fridge to use what I had first. I came across a brand new package of spicy Italian chicken sausage, a partially cut red onion and a new jar of roasted red peppers front and center in my pantry cabinet. I also had a tupperware of penne that I made for lunch the day before, but barely put a dent in. The most inciting ingredient, however, was a container of Philadelphia Cooking Creme that I had purchased based solely on the commercials. I didn’t have a purpose for it when I impulsively added it to my cart, but knew I would find a way to make it work.
So I postponed my trip to Stop and Shop and threw together this dish based on the items already in my house. It was rich and creamy, with a bit of sweetness from sauteed red onions, smoky undertones from the fire roasted red peppers and a hint of heat from the spicy Italian sausage. Well-balanced, hearty, and bursting with flavor. Not bad for a Monday.
Besides, there are still four nights of Chanukah left to whip up a more authentic creation.
1 lb penne pasta
1 package spicy Italian chicken sausage
About 3/4 of a large red onion (or what the hell throw it all in if you’d like)
1 cup fire roasted red peppers
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 (10 oz.) container Savory Garlic Philadelphia Cooking Creme
Boil penne according to directions and cut chicken sausage into quarters.
Thinly slice red onion.
Coat a large pan with 2 tablespoons olive oil and sauté onions until tender.
Toss in roasted peppers until just warm.
Transfer to a dish and set aside.
Add remaining two tablespoons olive oil to the pan and lightly brown chicken sausage.
Return peppers and onions to the pan.
Scoop in cooking creme.
Stir to melt creme and pour over hot pasta.
Mix well and serve.
Eat and enjoy this not-so-Chanukah dinner!