Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Pastas for Fall!

As much as I love cooking with ground meats - beef, turkey, chicken...nothing quite matches the flavor of ground sausage, already mixed with mouth-watering seasonings.  Sausage adds a touch of elegance to dinner recipes from soups to sauces to pasta.  Johnsonville offers a number of brilliant varieties of sausages, and I incorporated them into some comforting dinners as we welcomed Fall into our home. 

I don't think I can ever tire of sausage.  I sauté sliced sausage with colorful peppers, crumble them from their casings and cook them in soups, roast them whole or simply cut in half, and use them to flavor up any kind of rice dish.   One of my favorite things to do with sausage, though, is to use it in place of hamburger for my pasta sauces.  In particular, using sausage in a tomato-based spaghetti sauce adds a certain type of zing, especially if there is some sort of spice involved.  I take a small sharp knife and slip it into one end of a sausage link with the blade pointing out and run it the length of the sausage, cutting the casing.  Wanting to try something new, I came across this Johnsonville recipe that called for grilling sausages and slicing them into coin-sized pieces before combining with a pasta sauce:  Italian Sausage Rigatoni.  I was intrigued by this new take on a red sauce, so decided to try it.  I parboiled the sausages before placing them on the grill to brown nicely, sliced them up, mixed everything together, and sure enough, this pasta was delicious and satisfying. 

The second recipe I served this month was a Creamy Pesto Gnocchi.  To be honest, gnocchi is not my favorite form of dumpling, but there is a little Italian market near my home that makes them fresh and sells them by the 1/2 pound.  How could I resist the thick, pillowy little things?  I love pesto and I love sausage so I knew this recipe had to be a hit.  And it was!  The fresh peas and diced red bell pepper added to both the color and flavor of this dish.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. 

And, lastly,  cream based sauces are my favorite.  I tried this Bowtie Pasta recipe, and loved the spicy flavor that came from the red pepper flakes and Italian sausage together.  Truly a quick meal that makes you look like a superstar -- with the perfect blend of fresh herbs and spices, this is an easy and beautiful dish for company, or just to impress your whole family. 

Johnsonville, thanks for helping us make some authentic Italian dishes this month!! 

No comments: