So, there’s nothing quite like having a baby to make you temporarily forget what real life is like. First of all, the person you were pre-baby doesn’t exist anymore, which I learned after Oden was born. You become a new version of yourself, but you’re never the same. Luckily, that’s a good thing! Parenthood is incredible. But there comes a time, amid the sleepless nights and unwashed hair and spit-up clothes, that you yearn for a glimmer of your old, familiar self.
Recently, I started hiking again, something that has always brightened my soul. It’s been a hard winter in Park City- massive snow storms and many feet of the white stuff. Despite the chill one day, I strapped Morrison into the baby carrier, zipped John’s warm coat over him, and followed Cholula’s wagging tail up a snowy trail in our neighborhood. It was challenging from many perspectives: I’m out of shape after giving birth, my balance was tweaked with Mo hanging off of my chest, and the deep snow made each step difficult. But what a feeling, to be outdoors doing something I love. I drove home from the trailhead smiling, feeling a bit like myself for the first time in months. I’ve been out multiple times since then.
Another thing that I have missed over the last few months is cooking. Toward the end of my pregnancy, I simply didn’t have the energy to shop for ingredients and stand in the kitchen to make a meal. And after Mo arrived, I was holding him or feeding him constantly. (Shout out to all of the Mamas who have used the bathroom with an infant in their arms!) I spied a photo of a delicious-looking pasta recently. It checked off some important boxes: comfort food, spicy sausage, creamy texture, simple preparation. I decided I needed to eat it. That meant I needed to make it. I almost had butterflies in my stomach! I’ve said before that my kitchen is my happy place. I took advantage of a snoozing baby in the carrier and dove in.
I started by browning some Italian sausage in my big green Dutch oven. It’s amazing how much flavor sausage gives to a recipe, and I always use the spicy version because we like heat in this house. I removed the sausage, dropped a tab of butter into the pot, and slid some chopped onions and garlic into it. Ahhhh- there was that familiar, yummy aroma that meant something GOOD was happening in the kitchen!
Next, I added a package of pre-sliced brown mushrooms into the pot with the onion and garlic. Buying them sliced saved me some time and made this quick recipe even quicker! When they’d softened, I added the cooked sausage back into the pot and turned the heat way down. It was time to tag-team Oden’s bath and bedtime routine with John, feed the dog, and nurse Morrison. Another thing about parenthood: you learn to juggle!
While John sang Oden to sleep (swoon), I got some water boiling on the stove for the pasta. I used what I had on hand, a small pasta called cavatelli. While it cooked, I got out a tub of mascarpone cheese and some chicken stock, halved some cherry tomatoes, and grated some Parmesan cheese. I also pulled some arugula out of the fridge.
When John came downstairs, I pulled the rest of the dish together. I turned the stove back up and added the tomatoes to the sausage and onions. I drained my pasta and added it right into the pot, and then I stirred in the whole tub of mascarpone cheese. I added a big handful of arugula (spinach would work, too!) and poured some chicken stock into the pot to loosen everything up. The stock and the cheese melted together into a creamy, tangy, fabulous sauce. All that was left to do was adjust my seasonings and dish it up!
This pasta was really tasty! It came together quickly, perfect for a weeknight meal. I appreciate that there is major flavor for very little prep work, thanks to the spicy sausage and tangy mascarpone cheese. We ate our bowls of pasta on the couch with buttery toasted bread and watched one of our recorded shows. Morrison might have even snoozed through the meal- bonus!
This pasta was simple and delicious. There might come a day where my time in the kitchen becomes more adventurous again, but at this stage in our lives, simple and delicious is right up our alley! Yum!
Creamy Sausage and Mushroom Pasta
- 1 lb. Italian sausage (I used the HOT version)
- ½ stick butter
- 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 10 ounce tub of mascarpone cheese
- 1 lb. pastas of your choice (I used cavatelli)
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 cups arugula or spinach
- Fresh grated Parmesan cheese for serving
In a Dutch oven or soup pot, heat a few swirls of olive oil over medium high heat. Remove the sausage from its casing, add it to the pot, and brown. Remove it and set it aside.
Add the butter to the pot. Add the onions and garlic and cook for about five minutes, until the onions are soft. Add the mushrooms to the pot and cook for another five minutes. Return the sausage to the pan and add the tomatoes. Cook everything for a couple of minutes and keep the mixture warm while you make the pasta.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and make the pasta according to the directions. Drain it and add it to the sausage mixture. Scoop in the mascarpone cheese and the arugula. Mix well with a few splashes of the chicken stock until the creamy sauce is your preferred consistency. Serve topped with plenty of Parmesan cheese and don’t forget some buttery toasted bread on the side. Yum!
Hungry for more? Check out the FOOD BLISS page for a collection of my recipes!