Sunday, 11 July 2010

The 21st Century Housewife's Roasted Sausage and Vegetable Pasta

This is another really quick and easy recipe that requires very little work from the cook, aside from a bit of light chopping, so it is a great one for after a busy day.  You can use whatever tomato sauce you have to hand.  I try to always have homemade tomato sauce in the freezer, but I often find myself using a canned or jarred sauce when I’m making this recipe and it still tastes great.   The tomato sauce you are using probably has spices already in it, but taste as you go along and see how you feel.  You might want to add about a half a teaspoon of dried basil and/or oregano or about a teaspoon of chopped fresh herbs.  Oh, and do use really good sausages for this recipe - whether you choose the vegetarian or meaty variety, you want ones with a lot of good for you ingredients and without fillers and nasty stuff. 

Mascarpone is the cultured Italian cream cheese you often find in desserts like tiramisu, but a small amount used in savoury recipes can make them taste really special.  

This recipe serves 4, but it is easily doubled.  

1 large onion (preferably a red one for colour), peeled and cut in fairly thick slices
1 red pepper, de-seeded and chopped in chunks
8 sausages
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (preferably olive)
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, finely chopped or 1 teaspoon Very Lazy Garlic (ready prepared and chopped garlic)
2 cups prepared tomato sauce
¼ cup mascarpone cheese
herbs and salt and pepper to taste
10 to 11 ounces of pasta (I like penne for this recipe but any pasta shapes will do) 

Place the prepared onion, pepper and sausages in a roasting dish and drizzle with the oil and balsamic vinegar.  Add the garlic and toss everything lightly to coat with the oil and vinegar.  

Put in the dish in the oven and roast the sausages and vegetables at about 375 or 190.  This will take about 30 to 35 minutes, and you should stir the mixture after about 15 minutes to make sure it is all cooking evenly.  The sausages are done when there is no pink remaining inside.  When the sausages are cooked, remove the roasting dish from the oven, cover with foil and keep warm.  

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water in a large pan according to package directions.  Heat the tomato sauce over low to medium heat in a small saucepan.  When it begins to get warm, taste it for flavour and add any herbs or salt and pepper you feel it needs.   Then stir in the mascarpone cheese.  It might take a few minutes for the cheese to meld with the sauce, just keep stirring gently until it does.  Heat through thoroughly, but don’t let the mixture boil. 

Meanwhile, keeping everything in the roasting pan, slice each sausage into about four bite size pieces.  Cover and keep warm.

When the pasta is done, drain it and return it to its pan.  Add the chopped sausages and roasted vegetables along with the mascarpone tomato sauce.  Stir through and serve on warmed plates or bowls with crusty rolls on the side.  

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