Friday, August 5, 2011

Italian Sausage Rotini

Pasta is one of those things that nearly everyone eats and loves (except for my best friend's husband, but that's for another day).

I like pasta even better when it has some spicy Italian sausage in it and come fresh tomatoes don't you? But this is even better because I didn't exactly do the cooking.

Rather, my honey did all the cooking. The recipe is an off shoot from what he learned from his Sicilian friend when he lived in New York. My honey was over on the east coast young, working, and hungry when he bumped into Carmen.
Thank goodness for Carmen who taught him the ropes behind 'blonding' onions, making homemade spaghetti sauce out of fresh roma tomatoes, and most of all how to saute some juicy, yet slightly crisp Italian sausage.

At the beginning of our relationship, my honey made his famous home made meatballs and sauce, which is one of Carmen's recipes. He had me at home made sauce out of fresh tomatoes. We might have Carmen to thank for us getting together and staying that way.
So, this is Scott's (my honey's) recipe, tweaked from one of the lessons he recieved from Carmen in his tiny apartment far away from home. Both of them far from the land that they grew up on coming together to share one thing in common... a love of all things that involve sausage, tomatoes, and fresh herbs.

I guess food does unite afterall. Nothing like a Montana Lumberjack and a Sicilian gentleman meeting across oceans to make a delicious Italian Sausage Rotini. 
It's my dream that one day I get to meet Carmen in person, thank him for teaching my honey how to navigate a roma tomato, and watch the two of them in the kitchen together.

I can just see it now. Two strong men discussing the amount of basil needed and how much olive oil is too much for the right consistency in a slightly sweet yet tart tomato sauce.

I'll be the one at the table with a fork, sipping a delicious Chianti taking pictures.

I'm getting hungry already.

On with the recipe... 

Italian Sausage Rotini
1 (13.25 Ounce) Box Whole Grain Rotini Pasta
1 tbsp. Olive Oil
5 Cloves Garlic; Minced
1/2 Sweet White Onion; Diced
1.25 Pounds Italian Sausage (5 links)
1/2 Cup Sliced Black Olives
1 Vine Ripened Tomato; Diced

1 (29 Ounce) Can Tomato Sauce
1 tbsp. Dried Basil
1 tsp. Black Pepper
1/4 tsp. Dried Cayenne Pepper

1. Cook pasta in boiling water removing from the boiling water 2 minutes earlier than directions. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process and set aside.
2. Heat a large skillet and add the olive oil. Swirl around the bottom of the pan and add the minced garlic and onion. Cook until the onions become translucent, about 3-4 minutes, then cut each Italian sausage in thirds and add the sausage to the skillet. Brown the sausage over medium high heat turning the sausages every 3-4 minutes until they have a golden brown crust on the outside. This will take about 10-14 minutes.
3. Once the sausage is browned, transfer the sausage and onions to a crock pot set to high or a large stew pot that is over medium high heat and dice the olives and tomatoes and add those to the pot. Stir to incorporate.
4. Then add the tomato sauce, basil, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Stir to combine all of the ingredients and if using a crock pot set to high for 1 hour to allow flavors to combine. If using a large stock pot, set the burner to medium low and allow to simmer for one hour.
5. In the last 10 minutes of cooking, add the drained cooked pasta and the reserved pasta water. Stir to combine and continue cooking for 10 minutes. Then serve in a large deep bowl topped with parmesan cheese and fresh basil if desired!

Servings: 8

Nutritional Skinny:

313 calories / 9.5 g fat / 46 g carbohydrates / 6 g fiber / 15 g protein

Mental Health Benefit: As much as I love to cook, chop, and saute, one of the small blessings in life is having someone else prepare a meal for you while you look on and drool. That's what I got to do for this recipe and it was a gift that my honey gave me. And it doesn't matter what he cooks (although it's usually Italian flavored). I love getting a break from the kitchen and enjoying someone else's inspired dishes. That was my mental health benefit for this recipe... a night off. Thank you honey (and Carmen!).


Cris said...

Although, he does eat spaghetti (don't ask what happened when I introduced him to penne) with plain marinara sauce or our homemade sauce from the garden tomatoes, which are coming up in droves. We also have a surplus of zucchini.. any breads or cookies or muffin recipes for me? The kids tend to enjoy the single serve size more..

Hot Mess Cooking said...

Hey Honey! My best muffin recipe is on this entry: Just remove the mashed bananas and add about 2 cups of shredded zucchini! If the batter is too dry add another half cup of apple sauce! Delicious! My tomatoes, etc are still waiting for.. god only knows what! But my lettuce... let me tell you.. simply abundant! We must be about a month and a half behind you!