Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Peasant Pasta

Penne pasta and Italian sausage tossed with a zesty pink marinara sauce and dotted with green peas. Tonight's meal was inspired by one of Rachael Ray's 30 Minute Meals.  It definitely came together in a snap and was a hit with the big and small ones alike (and I don't even really like sausage).  There's lots of room to play around with this one depending on what you have on hand.  And, it's one of those meals that if you have some sausage and peas in the freezer, you can keep all the ingredients on hand and throw it together when you're feeling pressed for time and inspiration.  Also, try substituting sauteed spinach and mushrooms for the peas for another variation.

Peasant Pasta
serves 4-6
1/2 -1 pound penne pasta, (we used a 13 oz box of whole grain penne and had some leftovers from two adults and two kids)
1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage (I used chicken, feel free to substitute pork or turkey as well.  If you get links, you can squeeze the raw sausage out of the casings right into the pan.  Gross, but fun! )
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes with basil and garlic
1 15 oz can tomato sauce (can substitute crushed tomatoes)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 cup half and half (can use heavy cream or evaporated milk instead)
1/2 cup frozen green peas
shredded Parmesan cheese for serving

Prepare pasta according to package directions, making sure it is al dente.  Drain and keep warm.   While pasta is cooking, brown sausage over medium high heat in a large skillet.  Once sausage is cooked through, drain off any excess grease and stir in cans of tomatoes.  Add garlic and basil.  Bring sauce mixture to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes.  Stir in half and half and peas.  Allow to warm through.  Toss sauce with pasta.  Top with Parmesan cheese for serving. 

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