I can’t believe summer is coming to an end and my daughter is going to start preschool in less than a month! Secretly, I am ready for fall though. It seems like it has been summer forever here in Virginia. I feel like it has been warm since I first moved here back in March. I think we had a week of cold weather, but other than that it has been much warmer than what I was used to Seattle, where we get about a week of hot weather per year.
I also have some exciting news that I haven’t yet shared here on my blog: we are going to have a new addition to our family! I am about 15 weeks along and due at the end of January. We are so excited!
I haven’t been able to post as often as I would have liked, but this summer has been busy and I hope to post more regularly once school starts. It has been a great summer though, as I have been able to see so many people who I have missed while living so far away.
Now, on to some cooking! I have had several “sweet” posts lately, so I thought it was time for a savory one.
Cheesy Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta with Sausage and Artichokes is a delicious pasta dinner, loaded with flavor. It has quite a few ingredients, but they are all easy to find and once you have all of them ready to go, the meal comes together relatively quickly.
This dish is based on a recipe I found in Giada’s Family Dinners, but I have changed it around a bit and adapted it to my tastes. Many of the ingredients can be interchanged to your liking, but here is the way I like to make it.
Cheesy Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta with Sausage and Artichokes
3/4 cup (about 4 oz) drained oil-packed Julienne cut sun-dried tomatoes, 2 Tablespoons of oil reserved
1 package (4 sausages) sun-dried tomato basil chicken sausage (fully cooked), sliced into bite-sized pieces
1 can (approx 14.5 oz) quartered artichokes, or 10 oz jar marinated quartered artichokes, drained and chopped
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
12 oz whole wheat penne (orecchiette pasta is also good)
8 oz pearlini mozzarella, drained (see tips and thoughts)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 Tbsp dried parsley
shredded parmesan cheese for serving
1. Bring a large pot of salted to water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions and drain.
2. While the pasta is cooking, heat the reserved oil from the sun-dried tomatoes in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook just a few minutes until browned. Transfer the sausage to a bowl and set aside. In the same pan, add the artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, and garlic and cook for 2 minutes or until garlic is tender. Be sure to watch the garlic, as it can burn easily. Add the broth and wine, and boil for about 8 minutes until the liquid reduces slightly, stirring occasionally.
3. Combine the sausage and cooked pasta with the sun-dried tomato and artichoke sauce. Stir in the mozzarella, basil, and parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve, topping with parmesan cheese as desired.
Tips and Thoughts:
Instead of Julienne cut sun-dried tomatoes, you can buy whole sun-dried tomatoes and chop them yourself, but I find that they are a little difficult to chop.
If you can not find pearlini mozzarella, which are tiny balls of fresh mozzarella in liquid, you can used regular fresh mozzarella that has been drained and cubed.
I like to use sun-dried tomato basil chicken sausage because it is mild and ties in with the flavors of the dish, but feel free to substitute any kind of sausage that you like. The original recipe calls for one pound of hot Italian sausages, with the casings removed. Be sure to cook it until it is done, about 8 minutes.