10 Jul 2010 45 Minute Pasta with Turkey Sausage

I think this is the fifth pasta recipe in my teaching-19-year-olds-how-to-cook series. We’ll have to move onto another type of food shortly.  In defense of pasta though, it  reheats really well; so one batch could feed a college student for 3 or 4 days. Pasta is almost a universally liked food, so the roommates, friends, study groups (wishful thinking…) will like it too.  It’s not too expensive.  It’s relatively easy and foolproof and most substitutions usually work out fine.  Yep, pasta is a good starting point for a new cook!  If they know how to cook five or six good pasta dishes, they should be set right? So far we’ve done one veggie, one chicken, one cheese, one beef, this sausage one…

I’ve been making this pasta dish for a number of years. I think I found the original recipe on Epicurious.com. The original recipe had some cannelloni beans in it, but the kids just picked them out so I no longer add them (but I am leaving them in the recipe in case they grow up and decide beans are a good thing to eat). I was thinking that a few mushrooms in place of the beans might be a good idea so maybe next time I will try that.  If you don’t have a shallot, just leave it out.  I don’t expect college kids to have shallots on hand in their apartments, but maybe they will surprise me.

The real problem with this recipe, for 19 year olds in California, is that it calls for 1 cup of red wine. OOOPS.  We made it with the red wine yesterday, but when they are out on their own I have advised them to use chicken broth (not that I have tested that). Ohdearrrrr…, my recipe is contributing to the delinquency of my minors!

ANYWAY, as written below this is a really GOOD 45 minute refrigerator-to-table recipe. It’s good enough for company. I’ve served it more than once to guests, and some of those guests have gone home with the recipe. Serve with a salad, some bread (easy, Easy, EASY if you have any of those Bread in Five Minutes a Day cookbooks), and dessert (of course!).

45 minute Pasta with Turkey Sausage

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot chopped (if you have it)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 lb Italian Sausage (or Turkey Italian-style Sausage), casings removed
1 cup of red wine (or any kind of broth–or even water)
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 lb. Penne Rigate Pasta (thin tubes, although bow ties, elbows or any other pasta shape would work, too)
1 can Cannelloni beans (optional, or substitute 1 cup sliced mushrooms–add after onion is sauteed)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (or 1 tablespoon dried)

Heat olive oil in a large skillet until hot. Add in chopped shallot (if using) and onion. Saute until limp (clear looking). If using stir in one cup of sliced mushrooms and saute for 3 minutes. Add in sausage, or turkey sausage (be sure to remove the casings first). With a wooden spoon or spatula (or even kitchen scissors), break up large hunks of sausage into small bite-sized pieces. When most of the redness of the sausage has gone, stir in 1 cup of red wine, broth, or water. Increase heat to high and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the crushed tomatoes and simmer for 30 minutes. During this time, make the salad or the veggies and cook the pasta. To cook the pasta bring salted water to a boil, add pasta, and cook for the time instructed on the package. Drain pasta when done, reserving about a cup of the pasta water. When sauce has simmered for 30 minutes, stir in drained pasta and drained cannelloni beans (if using), grated cheese, and chopped (or dried) basil and simmer for 3 minutes. IF the sauce seems too thick, stir in some of the reserved pasta water. You want the pasta to be perfectly coated and a little bit saucy (your personal preference will dictate how much pasta water to add, if any). Serve immediately, pass more Parmesan cheese at the table, if desired (I always desire!).

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today,

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