Thursday, December 1, 2011

Penne with Sausage, Tomatoes and Cheese

School of Eating Good just held a class on easy pasta dishes. Two of the dishes have already appeared on the blog: Bowties with Pesto, and Easy Mac and Cheese.

Here's the 3rd recipe our students prepared: Penne with Sausage, Tomatoes and Cheese. It's really easy and really delicious.

Penne with Sausage, Tomatoes and Cheese
Makes 6 generous servings; total cost is $11.50

1 box (14.5 oz. to 1 lb.) penne
1 lb. mild Italian sausage
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tablespoon tomato paste (see Note)
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 (14.5 oz.) can petite-diced tomatoes, un-drained
½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup chopped basil
1 cup grated parmesan cheese + more for topping

Cook penne in a large pot of boiling salted water for 10 minutes (until al dente). Save about ½ cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta. Wipe out the pasta pot and in it cook the sausage and garlic over medium heat until the sausage is cooked through, stirring to crumble it. Add the tomato paste, salt, pepper, pepper flakes, tomatoes, and cream and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the pasta, cheese, and basil to the sausage mixture and stir to cover the pasta with the sauce.  Add some of the pasta water if it looks dry. Serve with additional cheese for topping.

Note: The most cost-effective way to buy tomato paste is in a tube. It's now available in most supermarkets. It keeps in your fridge for a long time, making it a much better choice for recipes that require just a little tomato paste.

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