fennel sausage with butter beans and long hots

As any East Coast transplant will tell you, fried peppers in general and Long Hots in particular are a critical component of the best sandwiches, as well as dogs, dips, eggs, and, well, certainly most savory foods involving meat and/or bread.  They are also notoriously difficult to find here in San Diego, which is why I was so excited to stumble across a jar of Mancini Fried Long Hots on a recent trip to Little Italy.  Serendipitously located on a shelf next to some butter beans, I grabbed two jars of each, a pound of hot fennel sausage and a beautiful loaf of focaccia, and scurried home to start dinner. 

Long Hots, Butter Beans, and Sausage

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pasta with shrimp, feta and sun dried tomatoes

Today’s recipe for Pasta with Shrimp, Feta, and Sun Dried Tomatoes is outstanding for three reasons: 

First: Everything you need for the standard version can be purchased at Trader Joe’s for about $20 – that’s one-stop shopping at around $3.50 a serving.  If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s nearby (my condolences), most well-stocked grocery stores should work.

Second: This recipe is hard to screw up, but looks quite advanced and is dang tasty.  If you are trying to impress a date with a home-cooked meal but just barely know how to boil water, YOU CAN DO THIS!  If you don’t know how to boil water, go here first, then come back and follow the instructions below.  You can also do all of your prep work up to a day ahead of time so you only have to quickly assemble the sauce and cook the pasta when it’s time to serve. 

Third: This recipe adapts well and easily to many uses and dietary restrictions, including low-carb, low-gluten, and vegetarian (more on this below).

 And, okay, Fourth, take a look at this – it’s gorgeous!

 

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