As strange as it may sound to some, I consider myself to be pretty lucky. I’ve been blessed with two tremendous love stories (and a handful of rather unimpressive attempts) in my short lifetime.
There is a beautiful future in front of me with Michael, who I have the honor of marrying next November. But that does not mean I can’t look behind with reflection and gratitude for the first man I married. The end of this month marks another year since he passed away – and it is no different than any other year thus far without him; it tough, strange, and always changing.
Autumn has always been my favorite time of year and at the same time, it is now a reminder of those days when everything was so raw. The time of year we both loved has been changed forever.
Joshua had eyes the color of chestnuts. They were soulful and said more than any words that fell from his mouth. We shared many laughs. We had many fights. We loved with an intensity that was often misconstrued to the outside world. It was light and it was dark. It was love.
He worked hard in a restaurant kitchen and at the end of each shift, all of the cooks were allowed to make their own meals to take home. Sometimes they took advantage of the opportunity and made the largest steak in the house or lump crab cakes. But most of the time, Joshua’s meals were bowls of tortellini tossed with a spicy cream sauce, vegetables, and sausage.
He’d sit in the brown corduroy chair, completely exhausted, and eat what was usually the only meal he’d had all day.
It is a meal that is quick yet rich, and reminds me of late nights and conversations with a man who I loved deeply and who drove me absolutely crazy. I am proud to have been his wife and the mother of his child.
We can all be honest that this dish is not fancy or gourmet in any way. However it was born from the brain and made by the strong hands of a damn good man. Cheers to that.
Joshua’s After-Hours Tortellini
- 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil
- 1 cup thinly sliced red pepper
- 1 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1/2 lb. thinly sliced kielbasa or smoked sausage
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 – 2 teaspoons sriracha sauce, depending on taste
- 1 big fist full of baby spinach, chopped roughly
- 1/2 cup diced tomato
- 1 cup tortellini, cooked according to package directions
- salt and pepper
Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Drizzle in the oil, and when hot add in the peppers and onions. Stir to coat with oil and continue to cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Add in the sausage, mixing to combine, and cook for another 7 minutes.
Add in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the wine, and cook, stirring occasionally until the alcohol is evaporated, about 3 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium, stir in the cream and sriracha sauce and cook until the sauce starts to thicken a little bit, about 3 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Stir in the spinach and tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes allowing the spinach to lightly wilt. Add in the cooked tortellini and cook for a minute or two to warm them through.