Spicy Sausage Pasta

At the Cwach farm, when the weather starts getting cooler and the days shorter, we know it’s time to turn to tried-and-true, one-pot dishes that are hearty enough to feed a small crew of workers yet easy enough to clean up in just a few minutes.

One of my husband’s favorite dishes to come in to after a long day of haying or fixing fence is this spicy sausage pasta recipe. It’s so simple and fun to make, he’s often willing to make it himself (and will sometimes clean the pot, too!) We have adjusted the recipe to suit our tastes by adding more garlic and cheese, and we’ve found it’s a wonderfully adaptable recipe that can be changed based on preference or available ingredients. It’s easy to swap for your favorite pasta, cheese or meat, and leave out or add any veggies you desire. Craving a spicier fix? Add a few generous squirts of Sriracha or a pinch of crushed red pepper, try a hotter variety of Ro-Tel or replace Monterey Jack with a spicier cheese. Looking to add more greens to your meal? Throw in a generous handful or two of fresh spinach after your pasta simmers and let it wilt down— you won’t taste it and you’ll get a fast dose of vitamins and antioxidants. Hate onions? Leave them out- we’ll never tell!

While using pre-shredded cheese will cut a minute or two from your total prep time, I always suggest finding a great cheese grater (I love my Microplane coarse cheese grater) and grating it yourself. It takes just an extra minute or two and a bit of elbow grease, but what a difference it makes in the taste and texture of your dish. Freshly-grated cheese melts easier, tastes better, has fewer additives and is typically cheaper. Once you invest in a quality grater, you’ll find it’s so easy, you’ll never want to go back to pre-shredded cheese.

This is the type of meal we love to fix after a long, hard day that provides plenty of leftovers and requires little fuss. It’s a perfect back-to-school, weeknight meal for parents or the college student on a budget. Add a simple green salad or a slice of crusty bread for a complete meal and enjoy!

Spicy Sausage Pasta

Ingredients
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. smoked sausage
1.5 c. diced onion
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
1 (10 oz.) can Ro-Tel tomatoes and green chiles, mild
½ c. heavy cream
8 oz. penne pasta
½ tsp. salt and pepper, each
2 c. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1/3 c. thinly-sliced green onions

Directions
In an oven-safe, 12-inch skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add 1 pound smoked sausage and 1.5 cup diced onion and cook until lightly browned (about four minutes). Add 5 cloves minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add 2 cups chicken broth, ½ cup heavy cream, 1 can Ro-Tel, 8 ounces penne, salt and pepper and stir. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until pasta is tender.

Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup of cheese. Top with remaining cheese and sprinkle with green onions. Broil until cheese is hot and bubbly.

Source: Adapted slightly from http://www.kevinandamanda.com/recipes/dinner/spicy-sausage-pasta.html

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