Sausage, Artichoke, and Sun Dried Tomato Pasta

img_1376.jpgThis is my go to favorite weeknight meal. It’s super fast, easy, I almost always have the ingredients on hand, and my kids will eat it! Win, win!

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a generous amount of kosher salt. Add pasta and cook to al dente. I used fusilli this time, but any short pasta will do. I often use penne or bow tie pasta in this recipe; just whatever I have on hand.

The Sauce

This dish could be described as “sauce-less” but that makes me sad to even think about because it conjures up thoughts of dry and flavorless. This dish is none of those things! We’ll call this “untraditional sauce” instead.

Here’s what you need…

  • 1/2 to 3/4 lb. of Italian Sausage (You can use hot or mild. I prefer hot, but that doesn’t fly with the kiddos, so unless I am by myself I usually make it with mild Italian sausage.)
  • 1 can or a small jar of Artichoke Hearts (Again, this is a pantry recipe. Use what you have. I prefer marinated artichoke hearts, but if you only have them in water that’s okay too. Less flavor, but okay.)
  • 1/2 C. of Sundried Tomatoes in oil. (I always buy sundried tomatoes in oil because I like the texture and the flavor better, but I will say it again, use what you have.)
  • 1 C. Chicken Stock (Confession time. I don’t like low-sodium chicken stock. I like a salty, rich stock. In fact, I often dissolve a chicken bullion cube or use bullion granules instead. Naughty, I know… but I promise it tastes great and it’s cheaper!)

While the pasta is cooking, crumble the sausage in a saute pan over med/high heat. When the sausage is cooked, remove it to a separate bowl and set aside. Add the artichoke hearts to the pan (quarter them if they are whole) and the sundried tomatoes. Cook for about two minutes. Add the chicken stock and deglaze the pan with a wooden spoon, scrapping up any little bits that have stuck to the pan. Add the sausage back into the pan.

Drain the pasta and add to the “sauce.”

Top with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese if you have them on hand and I like to squeeze a little fresh lemon on top!

Enjoy!

 

The Best Spaghetti I’ve Ever Eaten

SpaghettiI do two versions of spaghetti at my house. Spaghetti and meatballs and then this version that I grew up eating at my grandma’s house. Every time I make this dish it takes me back home. The peppers, onion, and garlic perfume the entire kitchen. It’s comfort food at its finest and makes for awesome leftovers!

The Sauce

This recipe is all about the sauce. Here’s what you need.

1/2 Yellow Onion

2 Cloves of Garlic (minced)

1 Green Bell Pepper

1 lb. Lean Ground Beef

1 Small Can of Mushrooms

2 16 oz. cans of Petite Diced Tomatoes with Olive Oil and Garlic

1 16 oz. can of Tomato Sauce

2 T. of Tomato Paste

Handful of Fresh Basil

Salt, Pepper, and Italian Seasoning to taste

Parmesan cheese

Spaghetti Sauce

Heat a saute pan with 2 T. of Extra Virgin Olive Oil over medium heat. Finely dice the onion and cook it in the olive oil until the turn translucent. Dice and add the green bell pepper. Cook for a couple more minutes and then add the garlic and toss around with a wooden spoon for about 30 seconds.

Add the ground beef, break it up and cook through.

Add the mushrooms and cook for an additional minute or two.

Meanwhile, puree the diced tomatoes in a food processor with the handful of basil.

Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste.

Season with salt, pepper, and Italian season to taste and then turn your it down to low and let the sauce simmer while you cook your spaghetti.

Pasta Do’s and Don’ts

Cooking spaghetti or any pasta should be really easy, but I’ve seen it messed up time and time again. Follow these rules and you’ll get perfectly cooked pasta every time.

  • Do Salt Your Water! (This flavors the pasta and salty, starchy pasta water and be used to thin a thick sauce out a bit. Be generous. I throw in a handful of Kosher Salt.)
  • Do Not Add Oil to Your Water! (If you drain and serve the pasta right when it is done it won’t stick together. You don’t need the oil. It gives the noodles an odd oily coating you don’t want or need.)
  • Do Not Rinse Your Pasta (This rinses off the starch and leaves you with watery noodles with a weird texture.)
  • Do cook to Al Dente (Look on the back of the package and always follow the al dente directions. This creates noodles that are not too soggy and not too firm.)

When you have perfectly cooked spaghetti, top it with a generous portion of sauce, and top with with plenty of parmesan cheese!