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08 March 2010

Cajun Linguini alla Riccardo

More experimenting this weekend with pasta dishes.

This one turned out fabulous, especially if you like a good spicy pasta dish.

Here's what you'll need:

  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 2 zucchini
  • 12oz pasta (like Al Dente Brand Spicy Sesame Linguini or Red Chili Pepper Fettucini)
  • 1 tbsp cajun spice
  • 1-2 pounds of spicy andouille chicken sausage
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pasta sauce (any kind will do, I used Classico Tomato & Basil)

Cut the eggplant, zucchini, and peppers into bite sized pieces and set aside.  You may want to remove the skin from the eggplant, but you don't have to.  Cook pasta according to the directions, rinse, and toss in a bowl with a little olive oil, and set aside.  Add 3-4 tbsp of olive oil to the frying pan and heat over medium high heat.  Add eggplant, peppers, zucchini, and sausage, and about 1/8 cup of water (my pan was quite full so adding the water helped to steam the vegetables a bit).  Sprinkly on the cajun spice, and stir fry for about 8-10 minutes.  I covered mine when I wasn't stirring to help keep in the heat and moisture.  Add the pasta, and the tomato sauce, cook for another minute or two to make sure the pasta is heated nicely (in case it sat in your bowl for a while and got cold), and then serve.

Makes:  a lot.  Easily 10-12 servings.


  • Use less pasta for a dish that's richer in meats and vegetables (I used 12oz of pasta, but I think 8oz might've been the right amount). 
  • Substitute or add other vegetables. 
  • Stir fry some diced chicken or shrimp in a separate pan and add at the end instead of or in addition to the andouille sausage. 
  • Top with grated parmesan cheese.
  • If you can't get a spicy pasta like the two I mentioned, use regular pasta, but you may want to add more cajun or creole spices to the stir fry.  I also wonder if maybe adding a little shrimp/crab boil to the water when cooking the pasta would help make the pasta spicy.  Might be worth trying some time.

Nutrition-wise, this strikes me as a fairly healthy dish.  If you used 8oz of pasta and 2 pounds of sausage, like the Trader Joe's Andouille Chicken Sausage I used, and maybe 1/4 cup of total olive oil, you're probably looking at about 350 calories, 16g of fat, 26 carb, and 25 protein plus whatever is in the vegetables.  Those numbers are just for the pasta, sauce, sausage, and olive oil.  The vegetables only add about 40 calories per serving.

You could probably cut down on the fat by using less olive oil.  Maybe just some non-stick cooking spray, and a tablespoon of olive oil to toss the pasta with.

Posted by rickroot at 7:11 AM | Link | 1 comment
05 March 2010

The Math behind the Hurricanes playoff hopes

People have been talking about how improbable the Canes playoff hopes, but why?  Because we have 6 teams to pass, right?

I think what's more important is the number of points it will take to get into the playoffs, NOT how many teams we have to pass to get there.

I put the current games played and point totals into a spreadsheed, and used that to project the final standings.  I already suspected the 8th place team would have fewer points than normal because the eastern conference is weak this year.  The point totals are skewed towards the west.

Anyway, here's the projections:

1. Washington 64 94 120
2. New Jersey 62 79 104
3. Pittsburgh 64 80 103
4. Buffalo 62 75 99
5. Ottawa 65 76 96
6. Philadelphia 62 69 91
7. Boston 62 67 89
8. Atlanta 62 66 87
9. NY Rangers 64 66 85
10. Montreal 65 66 83
11. Tampa Bay 63 63 82
12. Florida 63 60 78
13. NY Islanders 64 60 77
14. Carolina 63 59 77
15. Toronto 63 50 65

We could get in the playoffs with 89 points.  There are 19 games left.  We currently have 59 points.

15-4 or 14-3-2 gets us there.

It's still improbable, but we are 12-1 in our last 13 games against eastern conference opponents (12-3 overall in our last 15).

5 of those final 19 are against Boston (2) and Atlanta (3).  2 more against Tampa Bay, 2 against the Candiens, and 1 more against the Panthers.

This weekend's games against the Panthers and Thrashers are *HUGE*  (every game is HUGE, but we can afford to lose a few, as long as it's to a "top 6" or western conference team.  We cannot afford to lose to Florida or Atlanta.

Go Canes!

Posted by rickroot at 8:27 AM | Link | 0 comments