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This week's IHCC theme is Fall Favorites. Living in Louisiana, fall sneaks off so fast it's kinda hard to relate. Like Spring, it's a season that we miss if we bat our pretty little eyes, ya'll.
But I lived in MO for a time and actually have some true down-n-dirty fall experience. Complete with "frost on the pumpkin" crisp-cool weather, dazzling colors, and raking more leaves than I'm going to allow myself to remember (damn the neighbor's sycamore tree--those huge leaves were a PITA to rake up on a windy day).
But its all those fall leaves that once upon a time blew onto my lawn that made me choose Giada's Orzo w/ Sausage, Peppers, and Tomatoes for this fall theme. In other words, it was the colors. When I saw a picture of this dish in Giada's Kitchen, the reds and browns and tans reminded me of fall.
I made a few changes to the recipe, but nothing monumental. I tripled the garlic b/c that's how we play around here...stinky breath and all. (Don't stand so, don't stand so...don't stand so close to me.) I used the "optional" red pepper flakes b/c, to me, red pepper in any form is a necessity rather than an option. And while we're on the subject, hot Italian sausage went into this rather than mild turkey sausage. In my house, not only do we like garlic breath, we like spicy garlic breath. (Pleeeease don't stand so close to me) I also used 3 links of hot sausage rather than 2 links b/c the proportion of pasta to meat seemed off. But that's all I did to the original recipe. Honest.
The Scoop: Yum! The sweet, roasty-toasty red peppers (which I confess to eating straight out the jar) with the spicy red pepper flakes and sausage...the salty, nutty Parmesan with the freshness of the parsley and tomatoes all pulled together to produce a tasty, family-pleasing, easy-enough-for-a-weeknight (mid-week at that) dish. We'd definitely eat this again. Gladly.
Also submitted to:
Presto Pasta Nights (Nov 19th)--Debbi @ Debbi Does Dinner...Healthy & Low Calorie is hosting this week
Cookbook Sundays @ Brenda's Canadian Kitchen (Nov 21)
Orzo with Sausage, Peppers, and Tomatoes
slightly adapted from Giada's Kitchen
4 to 6 servings
3 cps water
3 cups chicken broth
1 pound orzo pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 links hot Italian sausage, casings removed
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 jarred roasted red bell peppers, cut into 1/4-inch strips
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
In a large saucepan, combine 3 cups of water with chicken broth. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, making sure to reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
While pasta is boiling, get out a large skillet. Heat oil in it over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook around 4 minutes, breaking it up with the back of a spoon as you go. (It should be cooked through, but not quite browned.) Add garlic. Cook until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Add peppers, tomatoes, and red pepper flakes. Saute 2 or 3 minutes, until everything is heated through.
Combine pasta, sausage mixture, and 1/2 the parsley in a large serving bowl. Salt and pepper to taste. If you need the pasta water to moisten it up, add it now. Mix well. Sprinkle Parmesan and the rest of the parsley on top. Serve.