Friday, August 12, 2011

keep this in your back pocket

my kitchen has gotten a workout this past week.

saturday: roasted a chicken
sunday: made banana cinnamon pancakes
monday: made chicken stock & pasta with peas, olive oil and parmesean cheese
tuesday: sauteed zucchini and summer squash
wednesday: made pappardelle pasta with sausage in a tomato sauce
thursday: made chicken salad using some of the chicken i roasted

i haven't cooked this much in months. it feels really good.

dinner wednesday night was totally made on the fly. i got home from the gym around 7:30pm and just wanted to watch the cubs game. but inspiration hit me, thanks to julia della croce. every now and then i hear her voice ringing in my ears, talking about how to use tomatoes or some other ingredient. last night i remembered her talking about how it's okay to use tomato paste and how using canned whole tomatoes can add a nice chunkiness to any tomato sauce.

so following her advice i came up with this dish. it's relatively easy and can be adapted to other meats, vegetables and pastas. it's a good recipe to have in your back pocket when it's a wednesday night and you don't feel like putting together anything too difficult. this is exactly what i needed. 

pappardelle pasta with sausage in a tomato sauce

2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped (i actually forgot i had garlic and used garlic powder instead)
2 links of mild italian sausage
1 can of whole tomatoes (14.5 ounces)
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
a couple pinches of salt and pepper
8 ounces pappardelle egg noodles (or any type of pasta)

place pot of cold water over high heat and bring to a boil. add a large pinch of salt to water. once water is at a rolling boil, add pasta. cook until al dente, 8-10 minutes. depending on the pasta you are using, it may reach al dente in about 5 minutes or 10 minutes.

while water is coming to a boil, place large skillet over medium heat. add the olive oil and chopped garlic. remove the sausage from its casing. once the garlic starts to become fragrant (2 minutes or so) add the sausage to the skillet. brown the sausage and break it up using a spatula or wooden spoon (or cut up the sausage before placing it in the skillet.) while it is browning, open the can of whole tomatoes. chop tomatoes to desired size (can be a rough chop or a dice, depending on how chunky you want your sauce). feel free to get rid of the water from the can. the tomatoes themselves should give a good amount of juice to the sauce.

drain sausage once browned. add chopped tomatoes to the skillet with the sausage. add tomato paste. if the ingredients in the skillet are too thick and not combining properly, add some water from your pasta. reduce heat. add salt and pepper and allow sauce to come together by letting it sit for 3 -5 minutes or so.

once your pasta is al dente, add directly to the skillet with the sausage, tomatoes, etc. gently toss to coat all of the pasta.

yield: 3-4 servings

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