Happy Saturday! I hope you’re all enjoying your weekend. I know I am! I just finished choreographing “Fiddler on the Roof” for one of the local high schools, so this is the first weekend in awhile that I’ve had considerable free time. I am currently in the middle of an Academy Award-nominated movie marathon/couch coma. Last weekend, my sisters were in town, so we watched “Captain Phillips” and “American Hustle.” I loved CP, but “American Hustle” was the longest 5 1/2 hours of my life…I don’t wanna talk about it. Today, I watched “Gravity,” which was so intense I thought my heart might explode, and when I’m done writing this, I’ll be watching “Dallas Buyers Club.” Oh, movies. How I love thee.
Since this is the first recipe I’m posting, I wanted to start with one of my favorites: spicy sausage penne. One of my ex-boyfriends used to joke that the only thing I could cook was pasta. In reality, the only thing I wanted to eat was pasta, which is not a bad thing. This is a really easy recipe and takes less than half an hour from start to finish, so it’s great for busy weeknights.
Spicy Sausage Penne
What I’m listening to: Mumford and Sons channel on Pandora
Ingredients (makes 2 servings)
-1/2 pound Italian sausage
-1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (use 1/8 for less spice)
-1 1/2 cups penne (or other small pasta shapes)
-1 1/2 cups of your favorite marinara sauce (I go simple with Ragu traditional)
-2 oz. cream cheese, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
-Salt and pepper
Take the cream cheese out of the fridge and set on the counter to soften. Bring a medium-sized saucepan full of salted water to a boil. When the bubbles start breaking on the surface, add in the pasta and cook until it’s your desired consistency. (Cook for a shorter amount of time for a firm texture, and a longer amount for softer pasta.) When the pasta is ready, drain the water. Place the noodles back in the saucepan. If your sauce is not ready yet, add a small amount of vegetable or olive oil to the pan, and stir to coat. This will prevent the pasta from sticking together or to the pan.
After you add the penne to the water, place the italian sausage and red pepper flakes in a heated, ungreased skillet and cook on medium high.
Break up the meat with a spatula until it is cooked through and there is no pink. I like mine a little on the crispy side, so I usually cook it for an additional 2-3 minutes. When the meat is ready, reduce the heat to medium low and add the spaghetti sauce. Cook until the sauce is hot. Add the cream cheese cubes and stir until melted.
Add the sauce to the pan with the noodles. Mix together and top with salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese. Serve with garlic bread and a green salad. (It also pairs nicely with a glass of moscato d’asti, for you wine fans.)
That’s it! It really is that easy!
Note: Unless I’m making this for me and a friend, I make half as many noodles (3/4 cup) and mix with half of the sauce. I save the other half in the fridge and will make a separate batch of noodles when I’m ready to use the sauce. You can also make the full amount of noodles, and keep them refrigerated separately from the sauce. It reheats better if you don’t combine it.
Well, my movie awaits. Enjoy your evening and let me know what you think of this pasta!