Sweet Italian Sausage Pasta Toss

I know something is a hit when it gets requested over and over again. Or when it receives rave reviews every time time I make it from a guy (Eric) who doesn’t have favorites. Or when my friend with a picky family says that they all love this one. The guy-who-doesn’t-have-favorites’ verdict on this dish? “It tastes like something from a restaurant.” And from him, that’s a high compliment. No, he’s not talking about any old chain restaurant with a standard “okay” menu. In code, he means: “This is really awesome – I love it! Please make it again, and again, and again.”

Knowing that we have a.) tomatoes up the wazoo, b.) zucchini the size of baseball bats, and c.) someone who loves Italian Sausage coming for dinner, I thought that it was a safe bet to make this dish for my dad last night during his stop into the desert on business. I could tell you how much flavor it had, how garden vegetables made it even better, how fresh herbs make all the difference, but it’s still pretty darn good if you have to use dried, or how incredible the house smells while it’s cooking.

Instead, I think you’ll find these comments during and after dinner a more than convincing argument for making this one pan dish. Dad: “Kate, (my dad calls me Kate) this is so good.” – repeated throughout the course of the meal. Need another testimonial? Dad: “I’m pretty full, and I don’t need more, but would it be ok if I had a little more after we finish working in the yard?” Eric was too busy eating to say much, but I know it’s one of his favorites. Or, how about this conversation as I clean up the kitchen, scooping leftovers into a Tupperware for the next day. Me: “Did you still want some more?” Dad: (eating directly out of the pan) “Yeah…” Me: “Are you going to eat all of my leftovers?” Dad: “No…not all of it.” Me: (thinks) He’s going to eat it all.

It’s safe to say we had a great night last night and food was enjoyed by all. And I certainly didn’t mind Dad working his do-it-yourself magic on the wood border around the play area out in the backyard. I’m looking forward to the weekend and spending more time with my dad once his work stuff in Roswell is finished. He says he can’t tell us what he’s doing down there. Logan keeps asking when Grandpa will be back from seeing the aliens. Of course it’s not true. What would a guy who works in refrigeration have to do with aliens?

Sweet Italian Sausage Pasta Toss
a goodLife {eats} creation

  • 1 lb. Sweet Italian Sausage links
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2/3 c chicken broth or white wine
  • 1 3/4 c mini tomatoes (such as grape, cherry, yellow pear, or a mixture)
  • 1 1/4 c mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 zucchini (or 1 if it’s garden sized)
  • 1 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 Tbs fresh basil, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 oz. Farfalle (bow-tie) pasta, cooked according to package instructions

Over medium heat, brown the sausage on all sides. Slice into 1/4 inch think rounds and set aside. Chop the onion and saute in the remaining grease and juices from the sausage. After 5 minutes, add the minced garlic and saute another minute or two, until the garlic is fragrant.

Deglaze the pan with broth, wine, or a combination. Be sure to scrape up all the browned bits and whisk them into the liquid – this adds a ton of flavor. Cut the zucchini into half circles, or quarters if the zucchini is really fat. Add the sausage, mushrooms, and zucchini to the pan, stirring until the vegetables are tender and evenly distributed, about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the pasta. Serve immediately with freshly grated Parmesan on top, if desired.