The Return of a Weeknight Tradition

The pasta process, summarized.

The pouring of the pasta.

I like the specks of green.

Pasta Tuesday. 

For as long as I can remember, traditions have always been important to me. Whether that means my favorite activities (running and parade watching) on Thanksgiving morning before the feast, or having dinner with my family on New Year's Eve when I was little, I am someone who cherishes traditions at various points during the year. Any time a new tradition can begin, I fully support it and work hard to continue it - so that it becomes a real tradition. And as my husband and I have lived together for quite some time now, we have slowly adapted a few traditions of our own, which couldn't make me happier. 

Now, some may say that there are categories of traditions, such as someone having a specific role during a holiday (I was the person to fill the nut dishes each Thanksgiving, and this still rings true today), but I am adopting a more relaxed style toward the definition of tradition. Surprising, actually, since I can become somewhat rigid in terms of people's roles and responsibilities (I won't let anyone else fill those nut dishes! That's my job!). But I feel that traditions come in all shapes and sizes, and that's what makes having them in your life so special. 

In our last apartment, prior to the one we have now, my husband (then-boyfriend) and I got into a somewhat random habit of always making pasta on Tuesday nights. I don't know why, when, or really how it began, but suddenly, almost like clockwork, we would always find ourselves making pasta on Tuesday nights. Maybe due to the fact that most pasta dishes are fairly straight forward and quick, or maybe because I suddenly began craving pasta meals as soon as my Celiac got under control and I could finally acknowledge and appreciate how delicious a great pasta dish could be. However, the 'pasta Tuesday' disappeared for a while after we moved, and then we were wedding planning, when I declared our household pasta-free for a period of time. It was absurdly difficult and we barely survived. But we did get married! :)

Awareness: Pre-Celiac diagnosis, I hated pasta and really avoided it at any cost (who knew, right?). It was as if my body knew something was bad about pasta, and that I should avoid it, so I did, unaware of the damage it was doing to me every time I tried to enjoy it. Nowadays, I really enjoy GF pasta and we have found a few great brands to keep in the cabinet. 

So, fast forward to this week, and we are standing in the kitchen debating dinner options, realizing we have a few choices. My husband got back from a business trip, and on his way home from the airport, he graciously stopped by the grocery store for a couple items (oatmeal, if you must know). Reviewing available ingredients, I decided we should make a simple pasta dish with pre-made chicken sausage (yes, cheating, oh well), asparagus, artichokes, and pesto from the local farm we visit on weekends.

As we were prepping everything, and then eventually mixing the pasta with the pan of chicken sausage and veggies, I suddenly realized it was Tuesday. And we were making pasta. Sometimes traditions creep back into your week when you're not even looking. I smiled, and reminded my husband that it was , once again, Pasta Tuesday. Our weeknight tradition lives on. :)

Dinner Notes: For this meal, we used two 8 oz. bags of GF pasta - for lots of leftovers (our favorite brands are from Jovial Foods and Ancient Grains), one bunch of super local asparagus, one package of pre-made chicken sausage (brand is up to you, but we tend to buy Al Fresco), a small container of grilled artichokes, one container of basil pesto (pre-made because the seasons are tricking us), and a couple cloves of garlic. Cook the sliced chicken sausage first, in a large stainless steel pan, and follow it up with the garlic and other veggies (all chopped up). I'd say we let that all cook together for about 8 minutes, which coincides nicely with the timing on the pasta. GF pasta cooking times vary, but we usually follow the timing on the package, which works well (sometimes minus one minute). Once the pasta has cooked, drain it, and then add to the large pan with all other ingredients, stirring in pesto along the way for maximum flavor. This is a great weeknight dish because it's minimal ingredients and prep, but yields a lot of flavorful, delicious food in a short amount of time. Perfect for your own Pasta Tuesday!