Penne with Sausage, Tomato, and Romano

Even though I’ve shoveled our front walk and patio three times in the past 48 hours, I know that spring is just around the corner.  It’s gotta be, right?  Only four short days ago the snow was all but gone, my girlies and their friends were riding bikes in the cul-de-sac, and picnicking on heart-shaped cupcakes on beach towels in the soggy backyard.  Now this!  And say it ain’t so, John Malan – but there’s more on the way?

Through slushy streets, howling winds, and massive piles of snow, my friend Peg says she can literally smell spring.  Personally, I don’t get that – but she’s a world class gardener, so if she smells spring, then I believe her.

There’s a crew of gals at the Mequon store who have started their own ‘Biggest Loser’ contest.  I’m not sure if this is in honor of spring or not, but I decided to play along with them and share this recipe I found on the Cooking Light website a few days ago.  Thoughts of spring usually translate to thoughts of lighter eating, but with nine inches of snow and counting, I’m still in the mood for a cozy winter meal.

I followed this recipe to the letter – which is rare for me.  Call it ADD, cognitive decline, or just pure rebellion, but most of the time I cannot adhere to recipes as they’re written.  But I wanted to see if a ‘light’ recipe could actually taste good.

This one’s good.  Really good, in fact.  The serving size is generous – 2 cups of the pasta mixture, plus an additional tablespoon of cheese on top.  Along with a green salad and warm wheat bread (sans butter), a hearty (but ‘light’) winter dinner is served!


8 oz. uncooked penne (Creamette Pastas are on sale this week, 2/23/11 – 3/1/11)
8 oz. sweet Italian sausage (Sendik’s own Italian sausage is on sale this week)
Cooking spray
1 c. julienned onion (Super Sweet onions are on sale this week)
1  14 1/2 oz. can petite diced tomatoes, drained (Red Gold tomatoes are on sale this week)
6 T. grated fresh Romano cheese, divided
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. black pepper
1/4 c. torn fresh basil leaves

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and oil; drain.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add sausage and onion to pan; cook 4 minutes, stirring to crumble sausage.  Add garlic; cook 2 minutes.  Stir in tomatoes; cook 2 minutes.  Remove from heat; stir in pasta, 2 tablespoons cheese, salt, and pepper.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese and basil.

Featured, Fresh, Frugal, Fabulous | February 23rd, 2011