Monday, January 23, 2006

Pasta with Sausage and Frozen Veggies

So my mom uses them all the time, but whenever I buy frozen vegetables they seem to remain in the freezer till they've become one giant lump of veggie ice. You hear chefs and experts saying that frozen veggies might actually be better than fresh because they are frozen at the peak ripeness. But for some reason I couldn't bring myself to use them. No more! I cleaned out my freezer last week and this weekend stocked up on some frozen veggie basics:

- spinach
- peas
- onions
- bell peppers (mixed)
- sugar snap peas

My goal is to find simple recipes using these ingredients and a few basics I keep around the kitchen. I might expand the list soon when I want a different flavor in the dish. Also broccoli and Brussels sprouts are in season right now, so I probably won't by frozen until they go out of season. I bought lots of zip-top freezer bags to hopefully prevent the lump-of-ice scenario I use to have when I was use part of a bag, then twist the bag to "seal" it and place it back into the freezer.

Last night was the first recipe, and it turned out fairly good.

Pasta with sausage and veggies:
- frozen (and pre-cut) onions, bell peppers, peas, spinach
- 2 cloves of garlic (or teaspoons of pre-minced)
- red pepper flakes (adjust to desired heat level)
- 1lb pasta
- 2 Italian sausages
- several tablespoons of Parmesan cheese

Remove the raw sausage meat from the casing and place into a skillet over medium heat with a tiny about of oil. Flatten the meat and break into bite size pieces as it cooks. Once cooked, remove from pan onto paper towel to drain. Leave some oil/fat in the pan to cook the veggies. Add the garlic, onions, bell pepper, some salt and pepper, and the red pepper flakes. Cook until the onions and bell pepper are tender. Add the peas and spinach until just heated through, not any longer. Transfer along with the sausage to a large bowl to wait for the pasta.

Meanwhile heat a large stock pot filled with water to a boil. Once boiling, add the pasta and cook until just slightly underdone. Towards the end of the cooking, remove 1 cup of the pasta water and reserve for later. Drain the pasta, but do not rinse it. Place the pasta in the large bowl with the veggies and add the cheese. Mix to combine. Add the pasta water until the pasta and veggies are moist but not there should be no water pooling in the bottom of the bowl (I added over half a cups worth).



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