Easy Italian Monday night

Barney Stinson (aka Neil Patrick Harris on "How I Met Your Mother")

Barney Stinson (aka Neil Patrick Harris on "How I Met Your Mother")

If you’re like me, you want something easy to cook on Monday nights for dinner. After work I have swimming and a few minutes to shower and change before “How I Met Your Mother.” (I love Neil Patrick Harris as Barney…) And shameless plug for CBS, tonight is the start of the all-new season. Will we finally find out who the mother is this year??

Anywhooo…

We love Italian food at our house. But making authentic Italian on a time crunch can be uber hard. Something like lasagna can take at least 30 minutes to prepare plus the oven time…it could be 8 p.m. before dinner is ready.

Here’s a quick ‘n easy recipe from celebrity chef Giada de Laurentiis.  As much as I dislike Food Network’s short-spanned lives of their celebrity chefs (each of the chefs has a shelf life of about 2-3 years), some of their talent really comes up with good recipes that do work. Giada’s easy Italian recipes have all turned out great for me. I can’t say the same for the Paula Deen recipes I’ve tried. Maybe I just don’t have the tolerance for all of the butter and cream?

This recipe for fusilli pasta with sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes and spicy sausage takes advantage of frozen vegetables, box pasta and other pantry staples to help make this a home run with the whole family.

Fusilli with Sausage, Artichokes and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Download Printer-ready instructions.

Ingredients

Ingredients for fusilli pasta

  • 3/4 cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, sliced, 2 tablespoons of oil reserved
  • 1 pound Italian hot sausages, casings removed (I didn’t remove the casings. I like the extra crunch they add. I also use turkey sausage to reduce the fat slightly from traditional pork and beef Italian sausage.)
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages frozen artichoke hearts
  • 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 16 ounces fusilli pasta (We use whole wheat pasta to add a few more grams of fiber to our diet.)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan, plus additional for garnish
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 8 ounces water-packed fresh mozzarella, drained and cubed, optional (I actually opt for shredded mozzarella. I find the water-packed version doesn’t melt as well and gets a bit clumpy.)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

Cooking sausageHeat the oil reserved from the tomatoes in a heavy large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the sausages and cook until brown, breaking up the meat into bite-size pieces with a fork, about 8 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a bowl.

Artichokes and wine sauaceAdd the artichokes and garlic to the same skillet, and saute over medium heat until the garlic is tender, about 2 minutes. Add the broth, wine, and sun-dried tomatoes. Boil over medium-high heat until the sauce reduces slightly, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the fusilli in boiling water until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta (do not rinse). Add the pasta, sausage, 1/2 cup Parmesan, basil, and parsley to the artichoke mixture. Toss until the sauce is almost absorbed by the pasta. Stir in the mozzarella.

Final fusilli pastaSeason, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve, passing the additional Parmesan cheese alongside. We also get some frozen garlic bread. It only takes about 5 minutes for it to heat up in the oven.

I love this recipe because you only need two dishes. One for the pasta and one to cook the sausages and make the wine sauce. Then, everything gets tossed in the pasta dish before serving. Anytime I can cut down on the number of dishes I have to clean is a plus, too. I also like this recipe because it’s a great way for hubby and I to cook together after a rough day at the office. We can chat and enjoy our time together and then relax with a nice glass of wine and a hearty (and easy) meal.

Bon appetit!

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One thought on “Easy Italian Monday night

  1. Pingback: Add Giada to Your Next Dish « All's Fare Food Blog

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