July 15, 2011

Ratatouille & Sausage Pasta

I have been absolutely delighted by the beautiful, unseasonably warm March weather we have been having.  It is unbelievable to see spring flowers in March.  My peonies are already shooting up through the soil and my hyacinths have been fully bloomed for nearly two weeks!  We have even been able to have a warm jump start in the vegetable garden.  

While the weather has been lovely, I have been battling a cold (or allergies?) and was laid out for the past several days.  My meals are planned a week in advance and I grocery shop on Monday mornings.  The sickness struck Monday night and I was unable to cook for several days.  Thankfully, by late afternoon yesterday, the sickness had subsided and I was feeling rejuvenated.  However, I had mild anxiety about how to use up all of the food in my fridge without wasting it.  After some cleaning and disinfecting of my house, it was time to plan dinner.  I had a ton of vegetables that I needed to use up, so I decided to use them in this warm pasta dish.  This is a hearty, delicious and comforting meal that my family loves.  You can also substitute the sausage for chicken, shrimp or steak.  When tomatoes aren't in season, I substitute the large chopped tomato and chicken broth for a 14 oz can of undrained diced tomatoes.  

Serves 4
  • 3/4 lb sweet Italian sausage 
  • 2 tbsp olive oil 
  • 1/4 c onion, diced
  • 1 zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slices 
  • 1 yellow squash, cut into 1/4-inch slices 
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch slices 
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced  
  • 1/4 c dry red wine  
  • 1/2 c chicken broth
  • 1 large tomato, diced  
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste 
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried marjoram 
  • 1/4 c Parmesan cheese
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste 
  • 8 oz cooked pasta (I used gemelli and ziti)

Place the sausage in a large skillet and add enough water to reach halfway up the sausage.  Bring the water to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low.  Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  

Drain the sausage from the skillet and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.  Cut into 1/4-inch thick slices and set aside.

Heat the olive in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion, zucchini, squash and bell pepper.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook and stir until just tender, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon and set aside.  

Turn the heat up to medium-high.  Add the sausage to the skillet and brown on all sides (add more olive oil if necessary).  Stir in the garlic and pour in the red wine and chicken broth.  Stir in the tomatoes and tomato paste.  Add the sausage and vegetable mixture to the skillet.  Stir in the basil, marjoram and Parmesan.  

Add the cooked pasta to the skillet and stir well to combine.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Add more Parmesan, if desired.  


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