This is a fun season to cook at our house in Arizona right now. We planted a garden in March, and the fruits of our labor are beginning to be seen. (Actually Jeff does most of the labor – rototilling and planting, and I get to pick and cook with the vegetables. Don’t tell him, but I think I get the better deal.)
I’ve started going through my recipes to find any with zucchini and tomatoes in the ingredient list. Most nights this time of year, our dinner has vegetables from the garden whether it’s a salad with cucumbers or something like this dish with fresh picked cherry tomatoes.
This was seriously one of the best pasta dishes I have eaten. And one of the easiest to put together, too. I actually can’t figure out why it is so good. The results out weigh the items you put in it. Jeff loved the sausage, and I loved the cheesiness and spice of this recipe. It would make a great summer supper since you don’t have to heat up your oven. If you have a Sprouts grocery store near you, they have delicious hot Italian sausage that doesn’t have any nitrates in it. The fact that the sausage doesn’t have any nitrates makes me feel even better about making this pasta.
There is just something about cooking with ingredients from your own garden that is so satisfying. Maybe it makes me feel a little bit like I live in the “Little House on the Prairie” days. That always seemed so romantic to me. But then I remember the wild animals that showed up on Mrs. Ingall’s doorstep, along with prairie fires, and whooping cough, and I am happy to be living right now. So if you have a garden with cherry tomatoes, this is a great recipe to try, but if you don’t, you can always brave the great outdoors, drive to the store, and pick some up. There probably won’t even be a wild animal in sight.
ITALIAN SAUSAGE & CHERRY TOMATO PASTA BOWL
1/2 pound orecchiette pasta
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 3/4 pound hot Italian sausage, casings removed
- 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
- 1 c provolone or mozzarella, shredded, plus more for garnishing
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until done, according to package directions. Drain pasta, RESERVING 3/4 CUP OF THE COOKING WATER – VERY IMPORTANT!
- Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil until shimmering. Add the sausage in 1-inch clumps and cook over moderately high heat until browned and cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a plate, leaving the remaining oil in the pan. This gives a lot of flavor to the pasta.
- Add 1 Tbsp. of olive oil to the skillet along with the tomatoes and crushed red pepper; cook over moderately high heat, pressing the tomatoes until slightly softened, about 4 minutes.
- Add reserved pasta cooking water, season with 1/2 tsp. salt, and cook over moderate heat, scraping up any browned bits and crushing the tomatoes, until the liquid is reduced by half and the tomatoes are nearly broken down, about 5 minutes.
- Add the pasta to the skillet along with the sausage and cook, stirring, until the pasta is evenly coated, about 3 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in the cheese.
- Transfer to bowls and serve immediately, grating a little extra cheese on top.
Adapted from a recipe by Food & Wine