“Since hunger is the most primitive and permanent of human wants, men always want to eat, but since their wish not to be a mere animal is also profound, they have always attended with special care to the manners which conceal the fact that at the table we are animals feeding.” - John Erskine

14 January 2012

pasta with italian chicken sausage

You may remember me mentioning that my husband has been wanting to eat more healthy meals.  I’m not the best at “healthy” cooking ~ most of the time I don’t like low fat, low calorie (low taste) meals, so I’ve balked at that a bit.  But I have added several healthier meals to my list of things to try, and this is one of them.  I was very reluctant to try the chicken sausage, since I tried turkey sausage once and REALLY didn’t like it.  Lucky for me the only chicken sausage I could find was this, with provolone cheese mixed in.  I totally think the extra provolone made the meal.

Pasta with Italian Chicken Sausage, Peppers and Escarole
serves 12
source: Skinny Taste
24 ounces ronzoni smart taste pasta (or whole wheat)
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
2 red bell peppers, chopped
10 cloves garlic, chopped
2 pounds Italian chicken sausage, removed from casing
2 medium heads escarole lettuce, torn into bite sized pieces
½ cup grated parmigiano reggiano (I used this)
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
salt and fresh pepper to taste

Rinse escarole and tear into bite sized pieces.

Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water.  Reserve 1 cup water before draining.

While pasta water boils, heat a large non-stick skillet on medium heat.  Add olive oil; when hot add onions, peppers, garlic, salt and pepper.  Cook until soft, about 4-5 minutes.

Add sausage, breaking up with a wooden spoon and cook until golden, about 6 to 8 minutes.

Add escarole, cover and cook 2 minutes; remove the cover, stir and cook about 3 more minutes or until wilted.  Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Add cooked pasta, red pepper flakes, reserved water and Parmigiano Reggiano, toss well and transfer to a large serving bowl.  Serve immediately.

I’m not quite sure what escarole is, and couldn’t find anything like it at our local Wal-Mart, so I just got some green leaf lettuce.  I didn’t add a whole head, and was quite glad for it.  The lettuce wilted (which I was expecting) and ended up tasting bitter.  I think all of us pretty much pushed it aside.  Next time I make this I think I’ll use fresh spinach instead.  I am also never, never, NEVER trying to pull casings off sausage again.  If I can’t buy it uncased (like this) then I’m just going to chop it into bite-sized pieces and be done with it.  Ug.  My noodles ended up overcooked because it took so much time to “uncase” the sausage, so if you decide to go this route may I recommend uncasing before you start cooking the noodles.

You notice that the original recipe is called “Pasta with Italian Chicken Sausage, Peppers and Escarole”, but my title leaves the last two items out.  I’ve already explained the escarole, and it probably won’t surprise anyone to know that I left the peppers out.  I had planned on buying a couple just for flavor and picking them out before serving, but I forgot to put them in the basket.  And I was coming down with a bad cold and just wanted dinner done and on the table, so I made due with the usual onion powder, but left out the garlic (ME leave out garlic?!?  Yep.  Just couldn’t be bothered searching the fridge for it...), the crushed red pepper and the salt and pepper.  The sausage was so nicely seasoned that no one missed any of that.  (Of course, it may have tasted even better with it.  I’ll have to try it the right way next time.)

I don’t think anyone in the family knew this was supposed to be a “healthy” dinner.  I worried about whether my husband would be ok with no actual sauce, but the lightly cheesy noodles and the Italian spices in the chicken seemed to be just right for everyone.  Maybe I can do this healthy cooking thing after all...

1 comment:

  1. Just to agree with you, food should taste good, and they can be healthy too. Low fat isn't how I lost weight, it was eating allot of good fats :D it actually helps curb your appetite. Looks yummy, I love how much garlic you have in this recipe :D