Monday, March 19, 2012

Penne Pasta with Sausage and Sun-dried Tomatoes

I was recently browsing my website, looking for something that I could just throw together for dinner for Jerry and me. We knew we wanted something pasta, but couldn't decide which dish to make. We had it narrowed down to two. I was either going to make the Penne Pasta with Fresh and Sun-dried Tomatoes, or the Bow Ties with Sausage, Peppers, and Onions. So, since we couldn't choose one, I decided to do both! I took a little bit from each recipe and made a whole new dish! Clever, huh? It was FABULOUS!!!
 To be honest, I wasn't even going post the recipe because, in my mind, it was something that I "just threw together". But Jerry convinced me to post it because it was SO yummy! It was really simple too! So, there you have it. Here's one more dish to add to your "just throw it together" repertoire. I know you'll love it!!

1 lb penne pasta
a few glugs of olive oil
1 lb sweet Italian sausage, sliced into medallions
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
5 or 6 fresh plum tomatoes, diced
a few big splashes of white wine
1 small jar sun dried tomatoes in oil, cut into strips
a handful of chopped fresh basil
a handful of grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

 Place a large sauce pan over medium heat. Once or twice around the pan with olive oil and then add the sausage medallions. Brown them on both sides. Remove from pan and set it aside, but don't drain the pan. Add the onions to the pan and saute until they begin to soften. Add garlic, diced fresh tomatoes, and wine. Simmer until the tomatoes begin to break down. Add sausage back to the pan. Give it a good stir. Add the sun dried tomatoes, basil, cheese, and salt and pepper.
Place pasta in a large pot of generously salted boiling water. Boil until al dente. Drain and toss with sausage and tomatoes. Top with more cheese and a little more fresh basil.

When you brown the sausage, just put them in the pan and leave them alone. Don't be stirring them around and flipping the pan all over the place. You want to just leave them alone until they get nice and brown on the bottom, and then turn them over to do the same thing on the other side. It'll give MUCH better flavor. seriously!
The fresh basil is key. It REALLY gives the whole dish a big burst of freshness. If you simply MUST use dried basil, then add some chopped fresh parsley. 
Use any favorite pasta instead of the penne. How about bow ties?
If spicy is your thing, then use hot Italian sausage (or a combination of hot and sweet). You could also add a pinch or two of crushed red pepper flakes.
When you add the sun dried tomatoes, be sure to drain most of the oil. Otherwise, the sauce will be too oily. It's ok to add just a little of the tomato oil, though, depending on how much fat is rendered from the sausage. Use your own judgement!

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