Quick and Easy Italian

Sometimes all you want is a hot, tasty meal on your table without spending hours in front of the stove or feeling like every bowl in your house needs to be dirtied. This month's quick meal is for you. Whip up a batch of soft, flaky popovers and while they are baking, put on some water to boil pasta, grab a couple cans from your pantry, and toss together a simple pasta dish to pair with your popovers. Add a simple green salad and a glass of wine and you've got dinner together in less than an hour.

You can switch out the kind of beans you use in this dish, but we recommend trying the chickpeas first. They add a hearty element to this meal and stand up nicely to a strong tomato sauce. You could also use white beans or pinto beans, but they are more likely to fall apart in the dish and yield a much different texture.

However you put it together, take a moment to celebrate great meal ideas that come together like this one. As the seasons change, having opportunities to enjoy meals like this means having chances to get out and welcome the new season, too. Bon appétit!

Garlicky Popovers

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Generously grease six 6-ounce custard cups or 8 medium muffin cups.

Beat the eggs slightly in a medium bowl. Beat in the remaining ingredients with a fork just until smooth (do not overbeat). Fill the custard cups 1/2 full or the muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake for 15 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Bake for about 20 minutes longer or until the popovers are deep golden brown. Immediately remove from the cups and serve hot.

  • Yields: 6-8 popovers
  • Preparation Time: 45 minutes

Penne with Can-Can Sauce

  • 8 oz. penne pasta
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 (14 oz.) can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 2 T. capers
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Boil the pasta as instructed on the package, then drain. In a saucepan, gently fry the onion and pepper in the oil for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until softened.

Add the tomatoes, chickpeas, bay leaf and capers. Season and bring to a boil then simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and mix in the pasta, reheat and serve hot.

  • Yields: 3-4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes

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