Jan 24 2010

Favorite Sausage Pasta

Published by at 2:43 pm under Dinner

I’m not a vegetarian, but sometimes I just don’t eat meat. While I love a filet mignon out at a nice restaurant — not to mention the occasional In-N-Out burger — I don’t believe in just throwing meat into otherwise veggie-ful meals with abandon. Example: I love Caesar salads, but I’ll never order them with chicken. Similarly, I’d rather have a double dose of black beans than carnitas on my tacos. Dining buddies are always surprised to learn that I’m not a vegetarian, but simply someone with staunch beliefs in the separation of meat and vegetables.

My assistant John, however, defines any meat-less meal as a “snack.” And he has a special place in his heart for Italian sausage, which seems to be the winning component in any meal. That’s why this recipe over at Cooking Light caught my eye: A sausage pasta with fresh herbs and veggies that (probably) won’t give me a heart attack? Sold. Check out the recipe here.

It took some trial and error to get this one just right. I was initially grossed out by the chunks of sausage floating around in my otherwise pristine pasta, so we compromised: Add shrimp into the mix, and don’t squeeze the sausage out of its casing. Don’t ask me — for some reason the meat seems less intrusive when confined to a specific shape and sliced evenly.

I also added some yellow pepper and subbed goat cheese for parmesan, so that the finished product tastes a bit richer. Here’s our twist on the recipe:

Favorite Sausage Pasta

Ingredients (Serves 4):

1 package penne pasta

1 large yellow pepper, diced

1 large red onion, diced

1/2 pound spicy Italian sausages (pork)

1/2 pound shrimp

4 oz. goat cheese

2 cups grape tomatoes, halved (1 small container)

Fresh basil, chopped

Bring large pot of water to boil, and add penne. Slice sausage into 1/4-inch thick coins and saute in large skillet for 3 minutes on low/medium heat. Add onions and saute for 5 minutes, then add yellow pepper and saute for another five minutes. Add shrimp and cook for 5 minutes. When all ingredients are cooked thoroughly, add tomatoes and basil and let cook for about 2 minutes. After pasta is finished cooking, remove from heat and strain. Combine pasta with sausage and shrimp mixture. Top with goat cheese.

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