Weekly Winner: Pasta Perfection

This meal was a long time in the making.  I’ve had it on my weekly menu list for about two months and for various reasons it just never happened.  Something always came up to change our plans – a dinner invitation out with friends or a sudden business trip, things like that.  Then on Friday I finally made it and let me tell you, even though the recipe sounds good — it is FAR better than the sum of its parts.  This is, quite possibly, the perfect pasta dish.  Its Fresh tagliatelle with Sausage, Red Peppers, and Arugula and it comes from Fine Cooking Magazine.  Make it… you’ll be glad you did.

Fresh Tagliatelle with Sausage, Red Peppers, and Arugula

Serves 4

Ingredients:

Kosher salt
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
8 oz. hot or sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 13-oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained and finely chopped (1-3/4 cups)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 10-oz. package fresh tagliatelle or fettuccine
4 cups loosely packed baby arugula (about 2-1/2 oz.)
3/4 oz. (1/2 cup) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
8 large fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Break the sausage into bite-size pieces and add them to the skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, until browned, about 4 minutes. Pour off all but 1 Tbs. of the fat and return the skillet to medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the peppers and cream and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently until the sauce is slightly thickened, 8 minutes.

Cook the pasta in the boiling water according to package instructions. Drain well and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the sauce, arugula, cheese, and basil (if using) and toss with tongs until the arugula is slightly wilted. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.