Tonight Ryan is taking our son on his very first camping trip with some other father-son types in the neighborhood.
He's 100% confident.
I'm 100% scared to death.
Whenever I hear the words toddler and camping overnight in the same sentence, I can't help but panic. I just think of rushing water, poison ivy/oak, pointed hot dog roasters, sharp rocks, empty/lit fire pits, mosquito/spider bites, midnight waking/crying, the inevitable need for a first aid kit, and...well...
...the fact that my toddler has never slept in a tent/outside overnight before.
Although I have confidence in Ryan's abilities, I seriously with I had video of every second - or some kind of a live feed.
Any must-have advice for the first-time camper, and his Daddio? or even for the paranoid Mama?
Now to the food: ever tried orecchiette pasta before? They are simply darling. Instead of twirling back into themselves like pasta shells, the orecchiette pasta actually cups the sauce, broccolini florets, and mini-meatballs like a little bowl.
Also, where have I been my whole life? Italian turkey sausage is amazing. I ate a majority of the first batch of meatballs before the second batch was even browned. It was just so easy and tasty to pop a few meatballs along the way. They have that usual sausage flavor we all love, but are even more tender to the taste. Really, really, good stuff - and perfect for a quick weeknight meal.
Turkey Meatball Orecchiette
makes 4 medium-large servings
12 oz orchiette pasta
2 bunches broccolini, cut into bite-sized pieces
8 oz sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
1/4 C EVOO, plus more for drizzling
4 cloves garlic, minced
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 large egg
salt and pepper
1/2 C grated parmesan cheese
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil & add the pasta. Cook according to directions on package to reach al dente. Add broccolini during the last 2 minutes of cooking. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain the rest.
2. Meanwhile, roll the sausage meat into about 20 very small meatballs. Heat 1 T olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through - about 5-6 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
3. Pour off any drippings from the skillet, then add the remaining 3 T EVOO, the garlic, red pepper flakes and the 1/2 t salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring, 1 minute. Add the pasta, broccolini, and meatballs. Whisk the egg with the reserved cooking water in a small bowl, then add to the skillet to stir until sauce thickens slightly. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Sprinkle with cheese and drizzle with a teeny bit more EVOO.
recipe source: Food Network Magazine, April 2013 issue, pg. 98