Monday, March 15, 2010

"Giada's Rigatoni"

I pulled a loose paper out from a stack in my cookbook cabinet, and it happened to be something that I knew Joe would love!  ANYTHING with Italian sausage will for sure receive a thumbs-up from my Sicilian hubby!  This was titled, "Rigatoni with Sausage, Asparagus and Artichokes".  There was an article written around this recipe, and it was ironic what it said.  It was written by a woman who decided to cook this recipe for her husband because she was a self-admitted horrible cook.  She said that her husband had a crush on Giada deLaurentiis not because of her good looks (Yah, right!!!), but because of her skills in the kitchen.  So this author decided to give it a whirl to capture her husband's heart back.  It turned out delicious for the writer, and so her husband was elated.  Having a loyal husband is a blessing, yet one with a full tummy is an added bonus! 

I haven't blogged in almost a week because the busy schedules went into over-drive this past week.  From school fundraisers at restaurants, to late evening sport practices, to requests for "CPK"...Mommy took a bit of a break.  More to come--lots of it!  Can't wait for Spring Training to be over so the Culinary Institute of Irvine can get back into gear!

LOVE this quote:

Consult not your fears but your hopes and dreams.  Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential.  Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what is still possible for you to do.--Pope John XXIII

Rigatoni with Sausage, Artichokes and Asparagus
3/4 cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, sliced (reserve 2 tablespoons oil)
1 pound hot Italian sausage
2 (9-oz) packages frozen artichoke hearts (can used canned, instead)
1 small bunch asparagus (8 ounces), trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
¾ cups chicken broth
½ cup dry white wine
12 ounces rigatoni or other tubular pasta
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1/3 cup chopped, fresh basil¼ cup chopped, fresh flat-leaf parsley (Italian Parsley)
8 ounces (about 1 ½ cups) fresh mozzarella, cubed (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat reserved oil in a large, heavy frying pan over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook until browned, breaking meat into bite-size pieces with a fork, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer sausage to a bowl. Add artichokes, asparagus and garlic to skillet, and saut√© over medium heat until garlic is tender, about 2 minutes. Add broth, wine and sun-dried tomatoes. Boil over medium-high heat until sauce reduces slightly, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. (*NOTE: I like to add the asparagus later so that it doesn’t get overcooked) Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Drain pasta. Add pasta and sausage to artichoke mixture. Toss until sauce is almost absorbed by pasta, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in Parmesan cheese, basil, parsley and mozzarella, if using. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve, passing additional Parmesan cheese alongside. Makes 6 servings.

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