Sugar beet harvest is officially dunzo!!!!!!!!!! Eggboy can finally catch up on sleep, there’s a celebratory brisket in the oven, and I still have three entire seasons of Pretty Little Liars to watch, which means that harvest wasn’t nearly has long as it could have been. Last year they were still harvesting on October 20th so the fact that this year they finished on the 13th is reason to party extra hard. We’re having the whole crew over tonight for brisket, Mac and cheese, corn bread, live accordion music by Sheila, and the presentation for the award for whoever transported the last truck of beets from the field to the plant. Then E-boy will probably sleep until it’s time to go to the hockey game tomorrow night.
Here’s a little recipe that is partially Eggboy’s invention! It’s a riff on the Shakshuka Couscous from Molly on the Range that was invented when I was trying to figure out if we should have Shakshuka or couscous for dinner one night and Eggboy just said the two words together as if they were one dish. It was the same tone in which he suggested the train wreck that was “chicken pot babka” only this time it actually sounded like a good idea. So I went with it and it turned out to be an awesome heartier take on Shakshuka, almost like one of those one pot pasta recipes that are all over the internet. And then when I was in Maine a couple of months ago demoing this dish at Stonewall Kitchen, my friend Jeff (the same Jeff who dragged me for Tahdig Shakshuka) was all why isn’t this actually Shakshuka O’s?? That’s way more fun. And suddenly I was transported back to my Hello Kitty days when the most amount of vegetables I’d eat in one meal would be the carrots and onions in an individually sized microwaveable chef boyardee cup. And the most amount of meat I’d eat would be the tiny meatballs therein...
And so a very nostalgic dish was born!
The only special ingredient you need here is large ring pasta, which occupies most pasta aisles I think. I’m sure small rings or stars would work (although I don’t think stars would have the correct mouthfeel), and I really wanted to track down that Manischewitz Hebrew letter pasta since my Hebrew lessons start today (!!!!!) but alas it was discontinued years ago. Sad trombone! This dish is so much fun to eat though, and perfect for rainy nights when you don't feel like going to the store because all of the ingredients are super easy to have on hand (like my endless tub of feta that should have expired months ago but hasn't yet). If you thought that spaghetti-o's was at the height of its tastiness, you clearly haven’t had it with a soft cooked egg mingling its way into the sauce, making it rich and creamy. And with cumin and feta and harissa and all of the other tasty additions that make shakshuka so special. Get on this you guys! Happy weekend!!
makes 4 servings
3 tb olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tb ground cumin
2 tsp harissa, or more to taste
1/2 tsp paprika
crushed red pepper
1 tb tomato paste
1 can or carton (28 oz) chopped tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
3/4 c large ring pasta
1/2 c vegetable stock
4 large eggs
a few handfuls of crumbled feta
a handful of chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro or a mix
in a large skillet, heat the 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. add the onion, carrots, and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until soft and translucent, 10-12 minutes. add the garlic, cumin, harissa, paprika, a good pinch of salt, a few turns of black pepper, and a pinch of red chili flakes and cook until it's all dreamy and smelly, about 2 minutes. stir in the tomato paste, then the chopped tomatoes and sugar. reduce the heat to low, stir in the pasta rings and broth, cover and simmer for about 8 minutes, until the pasta is al dente.
create 4 little wells and crack in your eggs. cover and simmer until the whites are cooked but the yolks are still runny, begin checking at 5 minutes. sprinkle the eggs with a little salt and black pepper, drizzle the whole dish with olive oil, top with feta and herbs, and serve.