I’ve made jambalaya, and I guess I assumed I had made gumbo…but nope. This was a first. I don’t even know if I’ve eaten it before. So, this is not the place to come for confirming authenticity. In fact, I’m pretty sure this should be spicy. I omitted the cayenne pepper because we are weaklings here. I also added more vegetables because I wanted it to be more of a one-pot meal (1 bell pepper and 2 ribs of celery to serve 6?). I also could barely find kielbasa at my local grocery store, so andouille was out of the question. We enjoyed this, and I liked the mix of chicken with sausage.
It’s fun looking through my Marcella Hazan cookbook and finding new simple recipes to make that taste good. This one has vegetables built in, and because they are chopped rather than diced, they remain fresh tasting in the sauce. The pancetta adds a bit of flavor and meat to the dish, if you or your family members (ahem, K) require that in a meal. If not, you can make the same dish without the pancetta. This dish is also toddler-friendly with the fun pasta shapes and easy to chew vegetables.
You will notice the pictures are from two different occasions. The first time, I followed the original recipe but wasn’t completely happy with it. I wanted more vegetables and an easier chicken experience…carving chickens are “meh” but eating chicken thighs are easy. So, I added more vegetables (yummy carrots!) and switched to thighs. I also used my Dutch oven to give myself a little more room for those vegetables. That part mattered less, but I do recommend adding what tastes good to you.
None of these recipes are crazy-involved. We make variations of these regularly. The only reason I took pictures of the green beans and celery are because they were memorably good, and I used some fried shallots my friend Lisa made for me. You don’t need fried shallots for the recipes, but it showed how easily we could throw them into dishes to enjoy their sweetness. Below you will find the recipes for green beans and celery, and also chicken. I did not include step-by-step pictures this time, but hopefully you can still follow along.
I pulled this recipe from a magazine…kind of. K wanted some lasagna, but it is the middle of summer, so I needed some lasagna that would work well for this time of year. This recipe is creamy, but not heavy, flavorful, but not overwhelming. It also reheated well for future dinners. Originally, the recipe was supposed to be for lasagna and the ingredients were a little different. I worked with what I had and I think I like mine even better than theirs looked. Instead of tomato sauce, feel free to use tomatoes, but I prefer the sauce because it will not get watery. The sauce is really nice and it is hard to believe that there is not any cream in it. You could potentially hide vegetables from your family with this, but I preferred telling K and letting him enjoy their taste. We still had more vegetables on the side, because that’s how we roll, but do what you like.