Monday, July 6, 2009

Cherry Tomatoes & Sausage with Pasta

Cherry tomatoes pop in your mouth with a more intense flavor than regular full size ones. In April, the Chef featured them in his 2 minute Salad video. Now allow The 99 Cent Chef to liven up a typical boring tomato sauce.

When paired with sausage and pasta, these intense pellets of concentrated tomato essence create a colorful rich texture. The last cooking step -- deglazing the pan with red wine, pasta water and a pat of butter -- creates a rich delectable tomato sauce. My Italian budget entree uses ingredients I picked up at the Hollywood 99c only Store.

You can use any sausage on sale, and a small carton of cherry tomatoes comes cheap. If you have a little onion and bell pepper you need to use up, add these too.

Cherry tomatoes begin to soften after 15 minutes of cooking and become even sweeter. Crush about half of them to thicken sauce, but be careful, because they squirt when squashed. The Chef's cherry tomato sauce is an adaptable addition to your favorite pasta recipes. Use any favorite protein on sale, or just leave out the meat and add seasonal veggies for a lively vegetarian ratatouille-style pasta sauce. All ingredients featured in this recipe are inexpensive at any market, so make a low-priced meal of it!

Ingredients (serves 2)
  • 1 carton cherry tomatoes - about 16 ounces or 2 cups
  • Sausage - your favorite on sale, about 1 lb.
  • 1 small onion and 1/2 bell pepper chopped - for vegetarian, use any seasonal favorites.
  • 1 tbsp. chopped garlic - fresh or jar
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of red or white wine - photos shows red (optional, or use chicken/veggie stock).
  • 1 cup of pasta water - reserved from cooked pasta
  • Slice of butter - thickens sauce (optional)
  • Fresh herbs if you have them - about 1 tablespoon total if dried, including parsley, oregano, sage and basil.
  • Salt and pepper to taste - minimal salt is needed, as sausage is salty enough.
  • 3/4 package of your favorite pasta - cook per package directions


Directions
 

Boil water for pasta and cook per package directions. After draining pasta, reserve 1 cup pasta water to add for sauce. Add olive oil to heating pan and brown sliced sausage for about 5-10 minutes. Add any aromatic veggies, including bell pepper and onion. Cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Deglaze pan with wine or stock. Add pasta water, butter, tomatoes - salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for about 15 minutes to reduce sauce by half. Break up about half of the cherry tomatoes with your cooking spoon or spatula as they soften -- but be careful -- they squirt! Finish up by adding herbs you have on hand. Serve over your favorite pasta.

2 comments:

Shelley said...

I love cherry tomatoes. That pasta looks so good.

Christian said...

That looks like a damn tasty meal!

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