Gourmet Meals On A Ski Bum Budget | Episode 1 | Angel Hair Pasta With A Twist

Angelee Aurillo |
Angel Hair pasta with Sopressata, asparagus, red onions and tomatoes in a Parmesan sauce. Deliziosa! Photo: Nacen Gray


With 38 resorts still open in the U.S. and several of them still receiving record snowfall, ski bum life is not over! After an early, exhausting day of hiking, skinning, skiing at one of the resorts still open or working at one of them, and probably a beer or two at après, if you’re like me you’re ravishingly hungry by the time you get to your domicile of choice. Whether it’s a hostel, friend’s couch, condo, van, or your own home, you need to refuel and get ready for a good night’s slumber just to get up and do it all over again! The last thing you want to do is spend too much time in the kitchen making dinner.

It is so important to feed yourself healthy, nutritious food. Ditch the ramen, at least once or twice a week, put a small amount of effort into yourself and you will reap the rewards. Fresh and nourishing food will give you incredible energy, increase your performance and improve recovery times. Processed foods take a great toll on your body and health. Your body will thank you!

“One cannot think well, think well, sleep well, love well, if one has not dined well.” -Virginia Woolf (Of course, don’t forget ski well!)

Top of the ‘Gun Barrels’, looking down at the Pitkin Creek drainage towards Vail with views of the Sawatch Range. Photo: Nacen Gray


Fresh turns in the Gore Range outside of Vail. Photo: Nacen Gray


Capt. Kenneth navigating the ‘Gun Barrels’! The Gore is en fuego! Photo: Nacen Gray

The keys to satisfying, inexpensive, nutritious, filling meals are:

  1. Prepare meals that can be cooking slowly while you are out or are fast to make once you get home. Crock Pot: Great investment for the ski bum lifestyle. You can cook just about anything in a crock pot. Slow and low is the tempo, to more R&R once you get home. Check out your local thrift shop, they always have them for sale and are usually in great condition for twenty bucks or less.
  1. Try to prepare meals from which you can have at least two meals. You will be psyched to have something so delectable to reheat and eat. Some recipes, like soup might stretch to three meals, even better! Adding any kind of grilled cheese to most any soup will be quick, easy, and incredibly filling.
  2. Look for specials. Markets are always rotating and reducing items. If you are a meat eater, start there and build your recipe around that protein. Usually it is a value pack of some sort. You’ll be saving money and that is the name of the game when trying to maintain the ski bum lifestyle. As well, it is an opportunity to try something you might have not thought of cooking before.
  3. There are some investments to be made to having a well stocked and two smoking barrels of a pantry/fridge. Items like rice, pasta, grains,and canned goods are non-perishable and extremely versatile. These staples, when kept on hand will make it super easy to make a meal when you don’t have much desire to do so. Things like flavored oils, Sriraccha, spices, sauces, etc. are also great items to add to your pantry. They can help turn a boring rotisserie chicken from the market into a creative, quick meal. If you have the extra space or storage, shop for bulk goods. You will definitely save money. A trip to Costco can definitely pay off quite quickly.

A couple of great perishable investments would be something like Parmesan cheese, which might cost you $6-$7, but will be an asset to have on hand as you can use it in so many different recipes. Also pesto, that can be used with pastas, on sandwiches, in dressings, with eggs, yada, yada, you get the point. Enough chitchat, let’s get cooking!

Today’s recipe: Angel Hair pasta with Sopressata, asparagus, red onions and tomatoes in a light Parmesan sauce.

Angel Hair pasta with Sopressata, asparagus, red onions and tomatoes in a Parmesan sauce. Deliziosa! Photo: Nacen Gray (One of Vail’s finest ski patrollers and novice cook who follows instructions really well!)

Sopressata is an Italian cured slightly spicy salami (there’s a northern version and a southern version, both are delicious), which you can find in most deli sections. Usually about $6 per package or go for salami from the deli case where they will slice it for you and cost about $8/lb. It is not too hard on the wallet and a little goes a long way. This dish takes about 20 minutes to prepare, so keep this recipe on hand, change out the protein or add different vegetables for a fast, filling and delicious meal!

Getting the veggies ready! Photo: Nacen Gray


Deseeded tomatoes and Sopressata are next! Photo: Nacen Gray


All ready to go onto the plate! A little EVOO (Extra-Virgin Olive Oil) and some Parm to finish it off! Mangiamo! Photo: Nacen Gray

Total cost: Around $10-$12 for 3 generous portions


1lb Angel Hair pasta (reserve about 1/4c of the cooking water to add at the end)

3T oil (use vegetable or grapeseed, not extra virgin*)

1/3lb sliced Sopressata, cut into ¼ pieces

1 red onion, ¼” slices

2 tomatoes (seeds removed or leave them in, up to you), 1/2″ slices

7-8 asparagus, cut into ½-1” pieces

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/3c Parmesan (plus a little bit more for on top once plated), grated or shredded

Extra-virgin olive oil (optional if you have some)


Prepare the garlic bread and broil for 2-3 minutes, set aside until serving the pasta.

Garlic Bread:

1 loaf French bread, sliced into 1” slices

3T-softened butter

Sprinkling of garlic powder (up to you how garlicky you want it to be)

-Spread the butter on the sliced bread. Sprinkle the garlic powder over each slice and broil until just browned.

Angel Hair Pasta:

-Bring a medium to large pot of salted water to a boil. Once it has come to a rapid boil, add the pasta. Should be ‘al dente’ in 7-9 minutes; check the box.

-In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the oil.

-Add the onions and cook until soft, about 4-5 minutes.

-Turn down the heat a skosh, add the minced garlic and let sauté for two minutes, stirring so it won’t brown or burn.

-Add the tomatoes and let them cook for a minute or two before adding the asparagus and a generous sprinkling of salt (about 1-1.5 teaspoons). Just as the asparagus are softening (2 minutes or so), add the Sopressata.

-Drain the pasta.

– Add the reserved pasta liquid to the sauté pan and the Parmesan. Stir to help the Parm to melt.

-Add the drained pasta to the pan and toss to coat. Plate it up and drizzle with some EVOOil and any reserved Parm you have. Serve with garlic bread.

Buon Appetito!

*Extra-virgin olive oil is a cold pressed oil that has never been introduced to heat. Once it is heated, it immediately burns and gives that bitter taste most everyone has experienced. Use extra-virgin for finishing dishes or for things like salad dressings.

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