Ten years ago during my freshman year at IU, I landed myself a pretty rad group of friends. They are all creative in their own right: Kate with her tedious knitting projects, Emily is a genius in the kitchen always able to pull together a seemingly empty fridge into a magnificent meal, and Colleen with her ever so quirky crafting projects that always turn out just as she planned. They are also all vegetarian, which coming from a Greek family was just simply not how I grew up. Our meals always included lamb or chicken or steak or some kind of fish. I remember my sister, Hillary, trying to go vegetarian as some warped diet plan, which lasted for exactly three days at which point she broke down and dived into a crispy BBQ chicken leg. I’m not sure that I even had a true vegetarian meal (unless if you count grilled cheese) until I met my veggie friends at IU.
Now, ten years later we are all still dear friends and I have a handful of scrumptious vegetarian recipes, a new found love and appreciation for leafy greens, and at least twice as many recipes that can easily be cooked to suit everyone’s needs and preferences. We certainly have come a long way. We’re also all turning 30 this year. A birthday that feels strangely monumental. The four of us are planning a trip to celebrate and embrace the wisdom we have gained since the day we met, our few (only a few) grey hairs, perhaps our teeny tiny wrinkles around our eyes, and the love and support that we have grown to depend on over the last decade. We’re currently debating between a cruise, Mexico City, and Puerto Rico. If you have any suggestions do let us know!
In the meantime, here is one my favorite dishes that can be amended to please the meat eaters and the vegetarians in your life.
Linguine with Purple Kale and Hot Italian Sausage
by stephania stanley
What you need:
- 1 lb linguine
- 1 bundle of purple kale, rinsed thoroughly and roughly chopped (stems discarded)
- 1/3 cups olive oil
- 1 head of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
- 6 oz feta, crumbled
- ½ cup shredded Parmesan
- 3 Hot Italian sausages (omit for vegetarians, obviously)
- salt and pepper to taste
What you do:
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic slices and pan fry until they are golden brown. Watch them closely; They tend to burn rather quickly after they begin to brown. Using a slotted spoon remove the garlic chips and place them on a paper towel. Set aside. Add chopped kale to the same pan, add a dash or two of salt and pepper. Sauté for about 10 minutes or until greens are tender.
Cook the pasta according the directions on the box. Make sure to save the starchy water when the pasta is ready to be strained. Cook the Italian sausages in a separate pan at medium-high heat. Break them up with a spatula or a knife and fork so that they become ground meat.
Once everything is cooked, combine the pasta, ground Italian sausage, and kale into a large bowl. Add about 1/3 cup of starchy water, feta, and Parmesan. OR separate ingredients as needed into two separate bowls if you’re feeding vegetarians. Stir to mix. Top with garlic chips and serve!
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