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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Summer Pasta

I love pasta, but red sauce is sometimes a little too much in the hot summer. This is a nice and light pasta dish with lots of room for fresh veggies. I prefer to use asparagus and love to add swish chard if I have it - it's a great alternative to spinach - you get the good vitamins and it holds up a little more in the hotness of the food. I like to use penne or rotini or some kind of pasta that can catch the ricotta.

Pasta - whatever kind you like, penne or rotini are good with this
2 tbsp olive oil
2 spicy chicken sausages
Handful of asparagus
2-3 shallots, chopped
4-5 baby bella mushrooms, quartered
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
2 cups swiss chard or kale, chopped, and if you have it
Salt and pepper

1. Start the pasta.

2. In a large pan (use one with deep sides if you have one), heat the olive oil on medium heat and add the sausage - cook until done.

3. When the sausage is done, remove from the pan and set aside. Add the asparagus to the pan and cook until just tender. When done, remove from heat and set aside with the sausage.

4. Add the shallots and garlic and mushrooms and cook until just soft. Don't burn the garlic.

5. Turn heat to medium high and add the wine and broth, scrape the bottom of the pan to get all the bits up. Simmer until reduced to half.

6. While liquid is simmering, chop the sausage into small pieces and chop the asparagus into bit sized pieces.

7. Add the swiss chard to the pan and stir until soft. Add the sausage and asparagus.

8. When pasta is done, set aside about a cup of pasta water and drain the pasta. Add the pasta to the pan and mix with the sausage and vegetables.There should be enough juice so that everything is well coated but you don't really want juice at the bottom of the pan. If it seems a little dry, add some of the water from the pasta.

8. Add the ricotta and mix until everything has a little ricotta on it. Again, you might want to add a little pasta water to help the ricotta mix in with the rest of the ingredients but be careful not to make it watery. If it is, just simmer until the water evaporates.

9. Add the basil, mix well again and it's ready to eat!

*good with a little grated romano on top.

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