Hard work, good dinner

Outside of a small stint spent at CVS yesterday my weekend was spent playing house-wife, including putting dinner on the table, while Royce worked the day shift at the ER.  

You know you have made a good dinner when you come home and find that your husband has eaten the leftovers for breakfast…  so I must share our new addition to the weekly menu rounds.  I’ve modified the recipe a little bit to suit our caloric intake as well as our tastes.  My modifications are in italics.  It is a perfect summer time pasta, not heavy, not bland…just right.  As written below this makes 4 decently sized servings.  

Hot Italian Sausage and Tomato Pasta (Real Simple)

1 pound dry fettuccine  (I cut this back to 1/2 pound and I use bowtie pasta b/c its easier to eat, I also reserve some of the pasta cooking water for use later)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium red onion, sliced   (I chop this instead)
1 clove garlic, smashed   (I chop this instead)
4 hot Italian sausages, casings removed  (I only use 2 links and we use Trader Joe’s Spicy Italian Chicken Sausage and it works perfectly!)
1 pint red or yellow cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
1 cup arugula, torn  (baby spinach works well too…I just toss in a large handful)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan 
1 bunch asparagus, chopped into 1 inch pieces, boiled with salt.  Reserve some of the cooking water.
Splash of red wine…anything you have on hand, you should be drinking while cooking anyways!

Cook the Pasta according to the package directions. Reserve some of the pasta cooking water, then drain and set aside. 

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion softens, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sausage and cook about 5 minutes, using a wooden spoon to crumble it.  Note:  Chicken sausage won’t crumble so I slice it at an angle before adding into the pan.   

Add the cooked asparagus & tomatoes and cook until the skins burst, about 8 minutes.  Note:  I typically get impatient and just start squishing/popping the tomatoes to release their juices once they are soft.   

Stir in the vinegar, salt, and pepper.   Add some of the  reserved pasta water and asparagus water to the pan for to create a thicker ‘sauce’.  You can also add your splash of wine now…also give yourself a splash of wine too at this time.

Add the cooked fettuccine, basil, and arugula/spinach and toss gently to combine. Serve in bowls and top with the Parmesan.

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