Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Fusilli with Italian Sausage and Creamy Sun-dried Tomato Sauce

I don't know if I've mentioned to you before but I love the Giada brand pasta.  It's a better quality and she has some types that are not always readily available in your run-of-the mill grocery stores.  Things like bucatini, casarecchi, gobetti and fusilli col buco (or spaghetti-length spiral pasta), to name a few.  The only thing I hate is that the brand is only available at Target, and the nearest one is 100 miles away.  Plus, you can't order it online.  That drives me crazy because I don't get to either Fargo or Bismarck very often and would love the option to have it shipped to me.  To give you an idea of how much I love this stuff, I have actually contemplated making the 100 mile trip solely to stock my pantry with the many varieties of pasta she offers.  Unfortunately, my husband is too practical for that.  So, you can imagine my delight when I do finally get there.  Like last week when I was in Bismarck for my meetings, I was tickled pink that I had the opportunity to hit Target before heading home.  I was like a kid in a candy store, arms laden with boxes upon boxes, saying things like, "Oh, and I have to have one of these, and maybe two of this one, and I should grab one of these."  My husband would have killed me if he knew that I spent $20 on pasta alone.  Sshhh.......what he doesn't know won't hurt him!

When my kids checked in after school, they asked the same question that is asked every day, "What are you making for supper?"  I told them some kind of pasta, but I didn't know exactly what I was going to do with it.  They were okay with that answer, and liked it even better when I told them they could pick out the pasta.  I walked in the house to find a box of fusilli col buco on the kitchen cart, waiting for me to find my inspiration.  Knowing it was a good hearty pasta, it helped the sauce take shape in my head.  I wanted something full on flavor but light enough that the pasta had a chance to shine through, like the star it is.  Mission accomplished!

Here's your Cast of Characters.

1 Lb. Box of fusilli col buco (or regular fusilli pasta)
1 Lb. Italian sausage
1 Medium shallot, diced
1 Medium onion, chopped
1 Tsp. minced garlic
1/2 Cup sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 Swirls around the pan of olive oil (not pictured)
2 Cups chicken broth
3/4 Cup fat-free half and half
1 Cup reserved pasta water
1 Tsp. kosher salt
1/2 Tsp. freshly ground pepper
2 Tsps. rosemary, crushed
1 Tsp. Mrs. Dash Onion & Herb seasoning blend
1 Tsp. McCormick Perfect Pinch Garlic & Herb seasoning blend

In a large skillet over medium heat, brown sausage with the shallots, onions, garlic, tomatoes, a sprinkle of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper and the swirl of olive oil.

While sausage is browning, put a large pot of heavily salted water on medium heat.  When sausage is browned, add chicken broth and seasonings.

Stir well and turn to medium-high heat.  Bring salted water to a boil.  Add pasta and cook 2 minutes less than the minimum time.  When liquid in skillet has reduced by half, and started to thicken, turn to low heat.

Once pasta has finished cooking, transfer it to the skillet.  Add the reserved pasta water and half and half. 

Return heat to medium-high and cook for remaining 2 minutes, or until pasta is cooked through and sauce has thickened again.