Weekly Winner: A luscious creamy pasta rediscovered, revamped, and improved, with pork of course!

I have a huge stack of recipes that I’ve made once or twice and really liked.  But then others come along and take their place and the original recipes are forgotten – moved to the bottom of the stack.  Out of sight, out of mind.  That is until I get tired of making the new, “currently in favor” recipes and start to dig down to the bottom of said stack.  This usually results in comments like “oh yeah….that was really good, I think”. It has to have been good because if it was simply “OK”, it would not have remained in my stack. I don’t have time for simply “OK”.

This is exactly what happened recently when I rediscovered (aka unearthed) Fettuccine  with Tomato-Cream Sauce.  I was looking for a Friday night pasta dish for me and hubby but we’ve been super busy and I wanted it to be quick, easy, and relatively light.  (Note the emphasis on “relatively”). I remember when I first made this dish that it was better than it should be with how easy it was and how few ingredients were required.  I was also looking for a chance to use up some fabulous Italian sausage I had in my fridge.  Voilà!  Add sausage to this pasta.  Pork of any kind + pasta = perfection in my book.  Turns out, I was right.

The original (sans sausage) recipe comes from Cooking Light Magazine.  Yes, adding the sausage ups the calorie and fat content a bit, but it is so worth it.  Having said that the non-pork version is great.  Just not quite as great as it is with pork.  Just sayin’!

Fettuccine with Tomato-Cream Sauce (with Italian Sausage)

Serves 4

Ingredients:

8 oz fettuccine

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 Tbs olive oil

3 Tbsp chopped garlic

1/4 lb sweet Italian sausage

1 (28oz) can whole, peeled tomatoes, drained and crushed

3oz reduced fat cream cheese

1/4 cup oil-cured olives, pitted and coarsely chopped

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 cup small fresh basil leaves

1 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved

Procedure:

  1. Cook pasta in boiling water with 1/4 tsp salt until almost al dente. Drain pasta reserving 1-1/3 cup pasta cooking water.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes or until fragrant and tender, stirring occasionally. Add sausage and stir while crumbling until brown, about 4 minutes
  3. Stir in remaining 1/4 tsp salt and tomatoes; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in remaining 1-1/3 cups pasta water; bring to a boil. Add cream cheese; stir until smooth. Add pasta, olives and red pepper; cook 3 minutes or until pasta is done, tossing to coat.
  4. Divide pasta mixture among 4 shallow bowls; top each serving with 1 Tbsp basil. Divide Parmigiano-Reggiano evenly among servings.
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