Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Fancy-up Your Flavors

What are your pantry staples? For me, I always have some ingredients on hand for stand-by meals. Pasta is a pretty standard staple. I love cooking pasta dishes, but I get stuck on red sauce, pesto or cheese, as my options for toppers.

So, when I tried this new, super-easy pasta recipe for dinner the other night, I couldn't wait to share it. It's a simple pasta dish, with two ingredients I've never paired before: red pepper and italian sausage.

Sausage with Peppers and Pasta

3 c. rigatoni pasta, uncooked
1 lb. Italian sausage, sliced
1 each red, green and yellow pepper, roughly chopped
1 can (14.5 oz) Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
1 1/2 c. shredded Italian mozzarella-parmesan cheese blend
1/4 c. parmesan cheese

Cook pasta as directed. Meanwhile, cook sausage in large skillet on med. heat, 10 min., stirring frequently. Add peppers; cook and stir 7 min. or until sausage is done and peppers are crisp-tender. Stir in tomatoes; cook 2 min. or until heated through, stirring occasionally.

Drain pasta. Add to sausage mixture with shredded cheese; mix well.

Top with parmesan.

What did I do different? I think peppers are WAY overpriced, so I opted to get only ONE red pepper (and no green or yellow pepper). I felt like we still were able to appreciate the yummy unique flavor. In fact, it made me feel like three peppers would be totally overboard. I only had plain diced tomatoes on hand, so I chopped up some of my yummy fresh basil and I really liked the flavor that added, too.

Also, I already had shredded mozzarella in my fridge, so I didn't get the Italian blend, but I with I had, because I think the taste of parmesan is amazing and would have made this dish even yummier.

If you'd like to watch a video that demonstrates this recipe, Kraft has so kindly provided it.

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