August 22, 2012

Creamy Tomato Penne

Sometimes, Destiny opens the refrigerator door, and plops inspiration right in your lap. Or on your plate... less messy that way. We were going to make Pasta Caprese this week, but our favorite source of fresh basil failed us, and the only other place I could find it in larger portions would have cost me $15 just in basil!! That's just plain wrong. So we had all the other ingredients, and were going to go search for basil later... but tonight we threw planning to the winds, pulled together some remnants from our fridge (and freezer!) and created deliciousness. I haven't seen my husband eat like that in weeks...

Creamy Tomato Penne
Printable Recipe

1 lb Italian sausage (links or ground)
1 lb penne pasta
8 oz ball of fresh, whole-milk mozzarella
1 jar marinara sauce (or homemade)
1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup cream
3/4 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Start water heating for pasta, add about a teaspoon of salt. While waiting for the water to boil, crumble your sausage into a large pan, sprinkle with red pepper flakes, and brown.
Drain sausage and add most of the jar of sauce. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for a few minutes, while you dice the mozzarella.
Cut mozzarella into small chunks. Put them in a bowl and stick them in the freezer.
Add cream to sauce and meat.
Let simmer for a few more minutes, then remove from heat. When pasta is almost cooked through (not quite ready!) drain it and return it to the pot, off heat. Pour the meat and sauce mixture over the pasta. Stir until the pasta is well coated. Remove the cheese from the freezer and stir into the pasta. Pour into a 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle parmesan on top.
Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes, remove foil and turn on broiler; broil for 5 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool a few minutes and serve!
The mozzarella and pasta was for Caprese, the cream was from caramels, sausage was frozen, the sauce was from our favorite pasta place in Moab. It cost ten bucks, and was completely worth it. It's been sitting in my pantry, just waiting for the perfect use! This dish is pretty simple, so I would encourage you to use high quality ingredients, things you already know you love.
We had it with some watermelon and French bread. Cheesy, sausage-y awesome-pasta.
It actually didn't turn out as rich and gooey as I thought it would, and I was glad! Each noodle is perfectly coated with sauce, with nuggets of cheese and sausage tucked in.
Just enough to be hearty, without crossing the line into decadence. Decadence is great once in a while, but we're trying to cut back!
All this from a few refrigerator remnants that inspired me. Perhaps it will inspire you too!


  1. April, thank you for your lovely comments and a big thank you for following Carole's Chatter. Have a great week.

  2. new follower here :) excited to read more of your posts!! please come check out my blog some time as well :D

  3. Hah! Leftover inventions RULE! Some of the best things are invented with strange, random things in the pantry, or lack thereof. That's how cookies were invented, and shepherd's pie, and, of course, chicken broccoli casserole.


Your comments really DO make my day, and I promise to try and reply to each and every one, either through email or on here :)