Penne with Sausage and Fresh Basil

Penne Pasta with Sausage and Fresh Basil in a cream sauce

As soon as I tasted this pasta I knew this would be a recipe I’d be making over and over again.  Some of the most simple pasta recipes are also the best and this is no exception … the fresh basil is a must and takes it over the top!  I did alter the original recipe slightly by replacing dried basil (dried basil is horrible) with fresh basil, increased the amount of garlic and cut the cream and used half and half. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 package penne pasta
  • 1 lb. mild bulk italian sausage
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cans (14.5 oz each) Italian stewed tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 cup Shredded parmesan cheese
  • OPTIONAL:
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. In a separate pan, cook the sausage, garlic, onion, and pepper flakes over medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until meat is no longer pink; drain.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes, half and half, salt, and 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
  4. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 6-8 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta; toss with sausage mixture.
  5. Garnish with parmesan cheese and fresh basil. Yield: 5 servings

Recipe Source:  lilluna.com

Penne pasta with sausage and fresh basil in a cream sauce

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Breakfast Muffin Cups with Sausage, Egg and Cheese

Breakfast Muffin Cups with Sausage, Egg and Cheese

My friend was coming over for breakfast this past weekend and I was thinking I wanted something a little different from the regular “breakfast casseroles” or just scrambled eggs.  I found these little cuties on the Johnsonville Sausage website.  I altered the recipe slightly and used fresh potatoes in place of frozen hash browns.  I shredded 3 potatoes in my food processor and soaked them in water to remove some of the starch and then spun the potatoes dry in my salad spinner.  I also used “Bob Evans Breakfast Links” in place of the Johnsonville sausage links because my store didn’t carry them (sorry Johnsonville).  I made these in jumbo cupcake tins.  I found that I had to brown the potatoes (hash browns) in the oven longer than the recipe said – keep an eye on them and take them out when they are light golden.  They were a hit!  

Next time I’ll try it with bacon – this recipe is so flexible with ingredients … get creative and create your favorite Muffin Cup!  Easy and delicious.  Enjoy!

Breakfast Muffin Cups with Sausage, Eggs and Cheese

Amazing Muffin Cups

WHAT YOU NEED

  • cups Ore-Ida® Country Style Hash Browns, thawed or use fresh potatoes, shredded
  • tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/8 teaspoonsalt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 12 links JOHNSONVILLE® Original Breakfast Sausage
  • eggs
  • cups Shredded 4-Cheese Mexican blend cheese
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • fresh chives or green onions, chopped

PREPARATION

  • In a bowl, combine the hash browns, butter, salt and pepper.
  • Press mixture onto the bottom and up the sides of greased muffin cups.
  • Bake at 400°F for 12 minutes or until lightly browned.
  • Meanwhile, cook sausage according to package directions; cut into ½-inch pieces.
  • Divide sausage among muffin cups.
  • Combine the eggs, cheese and bell pepper. Spoon over sausage. Sprinkle with     chives.
  • Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until set and an internal temperature of 165˚F is reached or until nicely browned on top.

Super Delicious Zuppa Toscana Soup

Zuppa Tuscana Soup

I had posted this recipe over a year ago.  It needed updated photos and a re-post because this soup is super delicious!  It’s getting to be that time of year when the temperatures are dipping and soup tastes extra good when it’s chilly and cold outside.  I love this soup for it’s simplicity and great flavors.  An added benefit is the boost of nutrition with super-food Kale.  Kale holds up well in soup, much better than spinach.  One can never get enough Kale!  ENJOY!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound bulk mild Italian sausage
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 5 (13.75 ounce) cans chicken broth (home-made chicken broth is even better)
  • 6 potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup heavy cream or half and half
  • 1 bunch fresh kale, tough stems removed

Directions

  1. Cook the Italian sausage and red pepper flakes in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crumbly, browned, and no longer pink, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Cook the bacon in the same Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain, leaving a few tablespoons of drippings with the bacon in the bottom of the Dutch oven. Stir in the onions and garlic; cook until onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Pour the chicken broth into the Dutch oven with the bacon and onion mixture; bring to a boil over high heat. Add the potatoes, and boil until fork tender, about 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the heavy cream and the cooked sausage; heat through. Mix the Kale into the soup just before serving.

Slightly adapted from:  Allrecipes

Zuppa Tuscana Soup

Sausage, Red Pepper, Mushroom and Cheese Pizza

Sausage Mushroom Red Pepper Pizza

I have posted non-traditional pizzas but for those of you who prefer a “standard pizza” you’ll love this pizza with Sausage, Red Bell Pepper, mushrooms and extra cheese (this was Tim’s pick).  Once you make pizza at home you’ll never want to order take out pizza again!  It is ridiculously easy to make, especially if you have a food processor.  It literally takes the food processor less than 5 minutes to “make” the pizza dough and then the dough “rests”.   What could be easier?  The following recipe is a recipe I use for pizza dough using a food processor.  I’m sure it can be made by hand as well for those of you who like the “experience” of kneading the dough.  I’ve heard so many talk about the love of working the dough with their hands and enjoying it so much.  I never found much enjoyment in kneading dough – only icky sticky doughy fingers and hands!

Pizza Dough (Makes 2 large pizzas)

Ingredients:

  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1-1/4 cups warm water (105-115 degrees F)
  • 3-1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

In a 2-cup liquid measure, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water.  Let stand until foamy, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Insert dough blade and add flour, salt and 2 teaspoons olive oil.

With machine running on dough speed, pour liquid through small feed tube as fast as flour will absorb it.  Process until dough cleans sides of work bowl and forms a ball.  Then process for 30 seconds to knead dough.  Dough may be slightly sticky.  Coat dough evenly with 2 teaspoons olive oil; transfer to a plastic food storage bag and seal the top.  Let rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes.  While dough is rising, prepare any pizza toppings.

Place dough on lightly floured surface and punch down (this is the fun part).  Roll into desired crust size and follow pizza recipe.

To Make the Pizza:

  • Brown 1/2 lb sausage and drain fat
  • I Red Bell Pepper – Chopped into small pieces
  • Mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 2 Cups shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • Pizza Sauce (Homemade or store-bought will work)

Shape your dough, using a pizza pan, creating a small rim around the outside.  Spread a small amount of pizza sauce on your dough, followed by the cooked sausage, red bell pepper sliced mushrooms and finally top with mozzarella cheese.

Bake in a pre-heated 425 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes until cheese is lightly browned and bubbly.

Enjoy!

Pizza with Sausage. Mushrooms and Red Pepper

Purple Potato Pizza with Sausage and Kale – Yes, I am a Purple Potato Eater

I came home from the grocery store with my bag of purple potatoes in hand and Tim took one look at the bag and out of his mouth came “I’m not eating purple potatoes”.  I smiled and said ok, I’m eating them!  Why do I love purple potatoes?   

  1. They are unusual – I like things outside the “norm”
  2. They are a pretty purple color (it’s a girl thing)
  3. They are healthier than white potatoes and rich in the antioxidant, anthocyanin. This flavonoid is most often found in blue, red and purple produce such as berries and pomegranates and has been shown to be an immune system booster.
  4. They taste good.

Yes, I am a purple potato eater and now I have officially eaten my first purple potato pizza.  Enjoy!

Pizza Dough (Makes 2 large pizzas)

Ingredients:

  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1-1/4 cups warm water (105-115 degrees F)
  • 3-1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

In a 2-cup liquid measure, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water.  Let stand until foamy, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Insert dough blade and add flour, salt and 2 teaspoons olive oil.

With machine running on dough speed, pour liquid through small feed tube as fast as flour will absorb it.  Process until dough cleans sides of work bowl and forms a ball.  Then process for 30 seconds to knead dough.  Dough may be slightly sticky.  Coat dough evenly with 2 teaspoons olive oil; transfer to a plastic food storage bag and seal the top.  Let rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes.  While dough is rising, prepare any pizza toppings.

Place dough on lightly floured surface and punch down (this is the fun part).  Roll into desired crust size and follow pizza recipe.  Look how pretty the potatoes are before baking!

To Make the Pizza:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 1/2 lb. browned sausage
  • 6-8 small purple potatoes
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 teaspoons Black Truffle Oil (or olive oil) 

Preheat oven to 425.

Brown sausage with garlic and drain excess fat, reserving a small amount of fat in the pan.  To the pan add chopped kale and saute until wilted.  Wash purple potatoes and put in a pot, covered with cold water.  Bring to a boil and boil for 8-10 minutes until tender.  Drain, and allow to cool.  Thinly slice the purple potatoes once cooled.

Once dough has risen and is shaped, prepare your pizza.  Using a pastry brush, brush the Black Truffle Oil (or olive oil) over the dough.  Add the mozzarella cheese, sausage, kale and thinly sliced purple potatoes.  Place in a preheated 425 oven for approximately 20 minutes. 

Homemade Pasta with Sausage and Kale

Usually when I’m making up my menu for the weekend I have to go to the store and get quite a few ingredients.  Not for this recipe!!  I had some fresh kale in the fridge (my new-found love).  I had sausage, home-made pasta, and home-made chicken stock in the freezer so I was good to go!  Not only was this easy and fairly quick .. but it was incredibly good.  Sometimes recipes with the simplest of ingredients turn out surprisingly full of flavor.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves of garlic chopped
1 lb turkey or pork sausage, casings discarded and sausage crumbled
3/4 lb kale, tough stems and center ribs discarded and leaves coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
1 lb bowtie pasta, or pasta of your choice
3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
zest of 1 lemon
1 oz finely grated Pecorino Romano (1/2 cup) plus additional for serving

Preparation:

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, add chopped garlic, then cook sausage, breaking up any lumps with a spoon, until browned, 5 to 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, blanch kale in a 6-quart pot of boiling salted water , uncovered, 5 minutes. Remove kale with a large sieve and drain. Return cooking water in pot to a boil, then cook pasta in boiling water, uncovered, until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta-cooking water, then drain pasta in a colander.

While pasta cooks, add kale to sausage in skillet and sauté, stirring frequently, until just tender, about 5 minutes. Add hot pepper flakes, and broth, stirring and scraping up any brown bits from bottom of skillet, then add pasta and 1/2 cup reserved cooking water to skillet, tossing until combined. Stir in cheese and lemon zest and thin with additional cooking water if desired.

Serve immediately, with additional cheese on the side.

Kale, Butternut Squash & Sausage

I had kale, butternut squash and sausage in the fridge and came up with this recipe.  This recipe is 5 ingredients, super easy, and packed full of flavor.  I love garlic, but I must admit I overdid the garlic with 5 cloves of garlic!  Yikes … I feel sorry for the people who came anywhere near me after all the garlic I had!  The taste sensations are ridiculously crazy good – and as an added bonus Kale has so many super health benefits! 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups cubed and peeled butternut squash
  • 4 cups chopped kale, stems included
  • 2 links of sausage hot and sweet, removed from casings

Saute chopped garlic in olive oil until lightly browned, add sausage and brown.  Add cubed butternut squash and saute for approximately 10 minutes until cooked.  Add Kale and continue cooking.  Serve and enjoy!

Homemade Ravioli – All Dressed for Christmas

I love experimenting with pasta – so for the holidays I made homemade ravioli in Christmas colors.  I used spinach to create the green dough and beets to make the red dough. You can view my post here to see how I make the stripes.  The recipe I use for all my pasta is here. It’s really quite festive, don’t you agree?  It can be stuffed with anything; this particular ravioli was filled with sausage filling.

Sausage Ravioli Filling (Source:  Better Homes & Gardens)

Makes: 6 servings Yield: 1 cup filling (enough for 6 servings)

 Ingredients

  • 4 ounces bulk Italian sausage
  • 3/4 cup packed fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon snipped fresh sage or 1/4 teaspoon dried sage, crushed
  • 1/8 teaspoon grated whole nutmeg

Directions

1. In a large skillet, cook sausage over medium-high heat until brown, using a wooden spoon to break up sausage as it cooks. Stir in spinach; cook and stir until wilted. Drain off fat. If mixture is too coarse to stuff ravioli, transfer to a food processor or blender; cover and process or blend with several on/off pulses until chopped.

2. In a medium bowl, combine egg yolk, ricotta cheese, sage, and nutmeg. Stir in sausage mixture. Cover and chill until needed.