The other evening, I needed a quick meal as I had 5 people to feed, instead of just my daughter and I. So, I turned to this quick pasta dish. This sauce is not a heavy, gravy type that I would use for spaghetti, but is a light sauce that clings well to the pasta. The Italian Sausage adds wonderful spicy flavor to this dish, filling each pasta tube with its goodness. Ground beef could be used instead, but it won't have as much flavor. The only thing I missed was fresh basil, but since my plants are long gone, and my grocery store didn't have any, I had to use dried. Can't wait for gardening weather! Let me show you how to make this delicious skillet dinner.
from Lynda's Recipe Box
12 ounces Rigatoni or other tube pasta - can use Penne
1 pound Italian Sausage, casings removed ( I used mild Italian sausage)
3 cans (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes or whole tomatoes, pulsed in the blender
NOTE: If you like chunky sauce, don't pulse the tomatoes.
2 tablespoons tomato paste, or 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1 onion, diced - about 1 1/2 cups
3 cloves minced garlic
2 1/2 teaspoons dried Basil, or 3-4 tablespoons fresh chopped Basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil, or more if needed
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 - 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the rigatoni according to the package directions. Add salt to the cooking water. When done, drain in a colander and put aside.
While pasta cooks, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon, or more of olive oil. Break up the sausage in the skillet with a fork or spatula and let the meat start to brown. Add the onion and stir and let the meat and onion cook together. Lower the heat if the sausage begins to burn. Cook until the onion is soft, then add the minced garlic. Cook until the garlic is fragrant, 1 or 2 minutes more. Add in the canned tomatoes that have been pulsed in the blender, and the tomato paste or sauce. Add the Basil, oregano and sugar; mix well and simmer on low heat, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the lid and stir in the cooked rigatoni and top with the cheeses. Remove the pan from the hot burner. Place lid back on pan and let it set for 5minutes or so, to let the cheese melt. Serve with salad and a good crusty bread. Enjoy!
The Italian sausage adds so much flavor to this dish that little, if any salt and pepper is needed, in my opinion. But be sure to taste before adding the cheese to adjust the seasonings.
If using fresh herbs, add them at the END of the cooking time for full flavor.