Sweet Italian Sausage, Squash & Cherry Tomato Pasta

Here's an easy pasta dish that has been showing up in our dinner rotation just about weekly now. I have been using sweet Italian sausage but I always like to keep my recipes flexible-use ground beef, turkey, or chicken if prefer. Simple delicious summery flavors from the zucchini, yellow squash, cherry tomatoes, and fresh basil. I pour in a bit of maple syrup to give it a extra hint of sweetness. It's all finished off with generous spoonfuls of creamy ricotta. This is my kinda comfort food people!


Time: 30 minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of sweet Italian sausage

  • 1 zucchini

  • 1 yellow squash

  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes

  • 3 garlic cloves

  • fresh basil

  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste

  • 3 tablespoons of red wine

  • 3 tablespoons of maple syrup

  • ricotta (about a cup)

  • about 3/4 of 16 oz bag of pasta-I used fusilli

  • olive oil

  • salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Prep ingredients-cut zucchini and squash in half lengthwise and than cut into thin slices-like half moon shapes. Roughly chop up garlic. Take about a 1/4 of the cherry tomatoes and cut in half-leave the rest whole. Take some basil leaves ( a small handful) and slice into ribbon like pieces.

  3. Fill a medium sized pot with water and sprinkle in salt and olive oil for the pasta. Turn to high and cover with lid. Add pasta when the water is boiling. Leave pasta to cook until al dente.Save some of the pasta water before draining. You may add the some of the starchy water if you see the sauce needs thickening.

  4. In a large oven proof sauce pan or skillet (I used a cast iron size 8) add a few TBS of olive oil. When pan is hot add sausage. If sausage is in links break them up to cook.

  5. When meat is cooked through add zucchini, squash, garlic, and tomatoes (halved and whole). Turn stove to medium so as not to burn. Add tomato paste and wine-stirring evenly to coat the bottom of the pan. Stir in Maple syrup and basil. Add salt and pepper.

  6. Turn sauce to low and allow to simmer about 10 minutes. Take spoon or fork and crush the whole tomatoes, allowing the juices to burst.

  7. Add in cooked pasta and stir evenly. Take the ricotta and spoon a few dollops amongst the pasta-do not stir.

  8. Put skillet in oven to bake about 8-10 minutes until ricotta has warmed and melted down a bit.

  9. Take pasta dish and garnish with basil leaves, fresh ground pepper, and drizzle on more olive oil if desired.

  10. Be sure to serve each portion with a dollop of that ricotta.

Serving suggestion: with a salad and red wine.


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