Italian Slab PieThe mission statement for Rachael Ray Every Day might be “Rachael Ray Cheap & Easy,” and that’s fine, of course. The “Italian Slab Pie,” from the March 2016 issue, called out to me with its guaranteed ingredients (sausage, fennel, ricotta, tomato sauce) and its easygoing, hands-on assembly. Approaching it at a slow, steady pace, I was a winner at the finish line.

Puff pastry does indeed respond to a rolling pin. I successfully stretched each sheet to the required 10 x 12-inch rectangle. I didn’t rush this: I layered my filling, placed the second dough rectangle on top, crimped the edges, and cut the steam slits. The egg wash was effective, giving me golden pastry after baking for 30 minutes.

That tasty pastry worked well with its filling of ricotta, sausage, and sauce.

I also thought to make a salad with this pie -- the kind of salad where everything’s raw and the vinaigrette is simply whisked together.

Pea Shoot & Snap Pea SaladThe “Pea Shoot & Snap Pea Salad with Sunflower Seeds,” from the March/April 2016 issue of Eating Well, was a grassy victory. If you see the shoots and the snaps -- fresh and ready to eat -- then grab them. It’s salad time.

Pea shoots are pretty (long, delicate sprouts), but are a bit impractical to eat. I imagined I was a grass-fed cow, munching on all this green stuff. But, we did it. And there’s no harm in eating a pile of green. You can do it.

Sweet Italian Sausage (12 oz.) = $8.04
Fennel = .96¢
Frozen Puff Pastry (2 sheets) = $4.38
Pea Shoots (4 cups) = $3.42
Snap Peas (8 oz.) = $1.21

PREP TIMES: devote a calm 90 minutes to the prep and baking of the slab pie; toss together the salad and eat it
TASTES: pastry + ricotta + sausage + sauce = tasty success; the salad is grassy goodness

Still buzzing from this salad thing, I want to compile another. Next time, I’ll reach for some recent posts from Naturally Ella to place “Chickpea and Spinach Burgers” atop an “Asparagus Salad with Turmeric Tahini Dressing.” You know this will be great. See you next week.