1. ITALIAN SAUSAGE TORTELINNI
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups diced onions
1 lb mild Italian sausage (our homemade in our Meat Department is the best!)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 (14.5 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
1/2 cup regular or heavy cream
9 ounces tortellini (fresh or frozen)
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups fresh baby spinach, loosely packed
Heat olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. When the oil is very hot, add the onions. Squeeze the sausage from the end of the link to remove it from its casing and add directly into the pan. Use a spatula to break up the sausage into bite-sized pieces. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is browned.
Reduce heat to low, then add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add broth, tomatoes, cream, and tortellini to the skillet. Stir to combine. Increase heat and bring to a boil.
Cover, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes until tortellini are tender and heated through. Taste the sauce and add plenty of salt and pepper to taste. I used 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Add spinach and stir until softened and wilted.
Remove from heat and serve.
2. WINTER PASTA WITH MUSHROOMS, SAUSAGE MEATBALLS, WALNUTS AND CRISPY SAGE
8 oz. Italian sausage (our homemade in our Meat Department is the best!)
extra virgin olive oil
8 oz. dried short cut pasta, such as farfalle or rigatoni
¼ cup fresh sage leaves
2 tablespoons butter
1 lb mushrooms, (choose your favorite)
½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
3 cloves garlic, chopped
salt and pepper
½ cup half and half or heavy cream
½ cup toasted walnuts
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
shaved parmesan or romano cheese
Remove the sausage from the casings, and form into small meatballs. In a skillet, add a tablespoon of olive oil and fry the meatballs until browned, crisp, and cooked through. Remove the meatballs with a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta and cook according to package instructions, undercooking the pasta by 1-2 minutes. Drain, reserving about a cup of the cooking liquid.
Meanwhile, add another tablespoon olive oil to the skillet and add the sage. Once the sage is crisp, remove from the pan and set aside on a plate. Add 2 tablespoons butter to the skillet and cook the mushrooms until caramelized, along with the fresh thyme. Add the garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 3 minutes.
Add the half and half, along with the pasta, meatballs, and parsley. If the sauce needs to be loosened up a bit, add a bit of the reserved pasta water until you reach the desired consistency. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with the crispy sage, walnuts, and cheese. Serve!
3. ONE-PAN FOUR CHEESE SUN-DRIED TOMATO AND SPINACH PASTA BAKE
1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled san marzano tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, oil drained but reserved
1 ( 10 ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess liquid
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper or to taste
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup chicken broth
1 pound rigatoni pasta
8 ounces fontina cheese cubed
1 1/2 cups asiago cheese grated
1/2 cup parmesan cheese grated
8 ounces burrata cheese
fresh basil or parsley chopped for garnish
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. Add the whole can of san marzan tomatoes, crushing the whole tomatoes with your hand. Add the tomato paste, sun-dried tomatoes + about 2 tablespoons of the oil left in the jar, thawed spinach, garlic, dried basil, dried oregano, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, wine and 1 1/2 cups water. Give everything a good stir to combine and then add the dry pasta, fontina cheese, asiago cheese and parmesan cheese, toss everything to evenly coat. Push down gently on the pasta to get most of it under sauce.
Tightly cover the baking dish and bake for 40-45 minutes. Uncover and break the burrata cheese over top of the pasta. Bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from the oven and garnish with parsley and or basil. Cut and serve.
4. BRUSSELS SPROUT PASTA WITH LEMON CREAM SAUCE
3/4 pound Brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons olive oil divided
6 ounces pasta
1 clove garlic minced
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1/4 cup walnuts toasted
Preheat oven to 400˚ F. Quarter Brussels sprouts and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Spread into a single layer and roast until tender and browning, 20 to 25 minutes.
While Brussels sprouts roast, cook pasta according to directions. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of pasta water and return pasta to the pot.
To make cream sauce, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add garlic and cook for one minute. Measure in heavy cream and the 1 teaspoon of lemon zest. I eyed it, about 1/2 lemon. Bring the sauce to a boil and let cook until it thickens slightly, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in lemon juice at the end.
In the pot with the pasta, stir in the the sauce and the Brussels sprouts. Add enough pasta water for the sauce to coat the pasta/Brussels sprouts.
Transfer pasta to a bowl and top with toasted walnuts.