Sweet Italian sausage stars in this zippy, creamy Pasta with Zesty Sausage Tomato Cream Sauce recipe.
Quotes and affirmations have materialized all over my house.
It began with one — “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away,” — which I purchased after the death of a friend a few years ago. But in the last year, it’s been joined by a saying about choosing love that hangs in the hallway, a “Share” sign in the bathroom and three signs in my bedroom — including “Keep It Real,” on my desk as a reminder for my writing.
But the one that I see and take notice of every day is something a dear friend told me awhile back when life was changing at a rapid clip: “Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone.”
At the time I was scared and uncertain. I wasn’t sure about much — except that I wanted more from life. So I leapt, and hoped the net would appear.
Living outside my comfort zone has been my motto for the last year as I’ve done things I never thought I would — from the move to attending events that I wouldn’t have considered before. And life is better for it. My kids and I do, see and experience so much more.
This also applies to my cooking. In the kitchen, I try to avoid cooking the same things over and over again. While the comfort of familiar dishes — like tacos and meatballs — is great and necessary. It’s experimenting, trying new things and rethinking what we’re eating that makes dinnertime more fun. Well, for me at least.
So when I plan our meals for the week, I try to intersperse favorites with new ideas … like this recipe for Pasta with Zesty Sausage Tomato Cream Sauce.
This creamy tomato based sauce has a hint of spice to it, thanks to a pinch or two of crushed red pepper. It’s hearty and slightly sweet, and perfect over thicker cuts of pasta, which can hold the sauce well. It’s also a quick and easy recipe — ready in about 35 minutes.
Of course, I can’t always please everyone. And that’s the thing about living outside your comfort zone — both in the kitchen and out — when you do, sometimes some people won’t like what you do or create. They can — because we all have the ability to choose our likes and dislikes.
In this case, Will loved the sauce. He’s requested it for his lunchbox and wants me to make it again. I really liked it too. But Paige? She wasn’t so into it. “Stick to meat sauce,” she told me. She’d prefer her sauce hearty and without any notes of spice — one of her favorite comfort foods. Maybe next time.
- 1/2 lb loose sweet Italian sausage
- 2 shallots, , chopped
- 3-4 cloves garlic, , minced
- 1 28- oz can crushed tomatoes
- salt and pepper, , to taste
- 1-2 pinches crushed red pepper
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 lb pasta, , prepared
- In a large saute pan set over medium heat, brown the sausage, breaking it apart as you go. Drain excess grease, if needed.
- Add the shallots and garlic to the saute pan and stir. Cook until soft -- 2-3 minutes.
- Pour the crushed tomatoes into the saute pan and stir well. Season gently with salt and pepper and add the crushed pepper. Cover, reduce hear to low, and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Remove the lid from the pan and stir in the heavy cream. Adjust seasonings as desired.
- Serve immediately over pasta. If desired, finish with a sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of several cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.