xmlns:fb='http://www.facebook.com/2008/fbml' Summertime Pasta with Sausage and Veggies

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Summertime Pasta with Sausage and Veggies

This post made me question my sanity. Cooking, pic taking and catering to everyone in my household simultaneously is quite challenging. Sometimes I wonder why my hobby wasn't as easy as looking at television. I can't explain this passion. Who spends five hours taking pictures of food on their day off? Is this normal? My brother in law mentioned recently that he heard that people who take pics of their food have an addiction problem. You think? I laughed it off at that moment but it really made me start thinking. To reassure myself, I thought of people who are addicted to drugs including nose spray(I know someone), alcohol, gambling and then I thought, this isn't so bad after all. [Notice I didn't include shopping because I may have a slight problem in that area too.]

Whatever this ailment is, it feeds us well and after all the dashing around trying to finish before the sun goes down, racing up and down the stairs searching for the perfect light to capture my pot of food, I really enjoy doing it. I hope my passion is evident in my work and I hope it inspires you to also do what makes you happy. Even though it doesn't generate an income, even though it leaves you exhausted come Monday morning, even though you spend your entire allowance on serving ware and camera equipment, even though hardly anyone ever recognizes your hard work or takes the time to thank you for your recipes.  The important thing is that it makes you happy.

On the topic of doing what makes you happy, eating this pasta dish makes my family happy. It also makes me happy because it is so easy to prepare and comes together very quickly. It may seem like a lot of work prepping the vegetables, but I use a mandolin to julienne them, which takes less than five minutes.

This is a great summertime dish. It not only makes a quick, delicious, weeknight meal, it will also impress your friends at your next potluck or backyard party.

Ria's Recipe Notes:

        To keep our meals interesting, I occasionally substitute the sausage with shrimp (the very convenient ones you buy in the frozen section) and the penne with angel hair pasta. Actually that was my original recipe which eventually evolved into this combination.
        This dish can also be made vegetarian by eliminating the sausage and adding other veggies like broccoli (2 cups), red pepper(1/4 large) or celery(1/2 stalk) . When I don't have zucchini or yellow squash, I don't sweat it and just increase the other veggies. For my last backyard bbq, I grilled the sausage and mixed it in with half the pasta and veggies (made 4 boxes of pasta!), leaving half vegetarian.
        To feed a larger crowd (6-8 people), like I did the other night, I use an entire box of pasta (16 ozs) and 1 pound of sausage (increasing the green seasoning to about 5 tablespoons).
        In the supermarket I purchase a 12 oz. package of chicken sausage for about $5.99, but get 32 oz at BJ's for approx. $9.99! They come in different varieties; spinach and feta or roasted peppers and garlic…I have also seen a variety with mango, don't recall the exact combination. Keep an eye out for them.

        For a delicious gluten free version, use brown rice pasta, quinoa pasta or other gluten free pasta.

Ria's Summertime Pasta with Sausage and Veggies
Serves about 4


8 oz Mini Penne (or your favorite pasta), cooked
½ small sweet onion
12 oz. All Natural chicken sausage (NO MSG, Fillers, Nitrites, Additives or Preservatives)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pint cherry tomatoes, each tomato halved
4 cups organic baby spinach leaves
½ carrot, julienned
1 small zucchini, julienned
1 small yellow squash, julienned
Pepper flakes, to taste (I use ½ teaspoon)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Chopped scallions or parsley, to mix in at the end

2 scallions
2 sprigs parsley
4 cloves garlic
Or use 3 tablespoons green seasoning

Prep work:
  • Boil pasta according to package instructions. Drain. Toss pasta with 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or butter to prevent pasta from sticking together.
  • Mince scallions, parlsey and garlic together (or use your pre blended green seasoning).
  • Wash, dry and slice sausages. 

  • Wash, dry and halve cherry tomatoes, julienne carrots, zucchini and yellow squash.
  • Chop scallions or parsley.

To Cook:
In a large skillet over medium heat, add oil. When hot, add chicken sausage and cook for 1-2 minutes, until slightly brown. Add minced seasoning. Cook 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Raise heat to high and add carrot, onion, zucchini, yellow squash. Stir fry for one minute.

Add tomatoes, cook for another minute. (If you want a nice tomato base, cook longer). 

For an equally delicious alternative, when I have the luxury of time (like I did in this recipe), I season the tomatoes with 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, salt and sprigs of thyme and roast the tomatoes in the oven @350 degrees Fahrenheit until nicely roasted. I add the roasted tomatoes to the dish when serving. 

Add Spinach, cook for one minute or until it wilts. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add pasta, pepper flakes (gives it a gentle kick!) and chopped scallions or parsley. Stir to combine all ingredients. Cook 1-2 minutes more. 

Test again for salt and adjust to taste. 
[Keeping in mind the addition of the parmesan which is slightly salty.]

Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Hope you enjoy,
...Until I am inspired again,
With love,

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