For those of you who applauded my food journal efforts, thank you. It was a valiant effort, but my inner beast took a hold of me and forced me to eat faster than I could write. It happens. Maybe I'll put it on 2010's list of resolutions.
I may eat a lot, but I can at least attempt to cook & eat healthy. This penne pasta recipe was inspired by a dish I saw in Giada's Family Dinners. I made quite a few tweaks, including adding additional veggies, using whole wheat pasta and subbing turkey sausage for the meat. In order to add a little creaminess without adding a lot of fat, I added a few dollops of part-skim ricotta cheese to thicken up the sauce. After buying a tub of ricotta on sale, I've found that it works wonders and have happily been throwing it in to just about every dish I make, whether it belongs or not!
The pasta is a hearty, easy to throw together meal that filled us up. We happily had the dish for leftovers the next night. Instead of microwaving, which tends to dry out pasta in my opinion, I threw the leftover pasta into a wok with some olive oil, broccoli, a few more scoops of ricotta cheese and finally green peas. We liked this version the best so I've included it in the recipe below.
Rustic Penne with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Artichokes & Sausage (and too many other goodies for a recipe title...)
Inspired by Giada's Family Dinners
3/4 cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, sliced with 2 tbsp of oil reserved
1 large link (1/2 lb) of sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
1 large link (1/2 lb) of hot Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
2 8 oz packages of artichoke hearts, coarsely chopped & thawed
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 3/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup frozen green peas
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
12 oz whole wheat penne
1/2 cup freshly grated good-quality Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup loosley packed baby spinach
cooked broccoli florets (optional)
1. Heat 2 tbsp of sun dried tomato oil in a large skillet. Add the sausage and break up into pieces. Cook until brown, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a bowl.
2. Add artichokes & garlic to the same skillet and cook until garlic is tender, about 2 minutes. Add the broth, wine, and sun dried tomatoes. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer until the sauce reduces slightly, about 8 minutes. Add peas & red pepper flakes.
3. While sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the penne and cook until al dente, about 8-10 minutes. Drain the pasta, do not rinse.
4. Add pasta, sausage, 1/2 cup of cheese, parsley, spinach, and broccoli (if using) to the mixture. Toss until combined. Add two scoops of Ricotta cheese and continue to toss until cheese is melted and incorporated in sauce. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste.