Happy New Year! I’m only about 2 weeks late on that one. I hope 2012 has gotten off to as good a start for you as it has for me. For the first time…ever I think…I have stuck to my resolutions so far. The most exciting part? I’ve lost 5 pounds. WooHoo! Five down, 25 to go. I’ve been putting a lot of focus on not eating like a pig and not drinking like a fish, both of which are tasks I still struggle with on a daily basis. But as my 30th birthday looms closer and closer, I realize more and more that nothing in or on me is 20 years old anymore, especially my metabolism. So, 1200 calories and at least 20 minutes of Zumba everyday and people are all ready telling me my face looks thinner. Hopefully soon they will start telling me my butt looks thinner too. That’s what I am really shooting for here. That and a size 8.
So, just because I am watching what I eat ( notice I didn’t say “diet”) doesn’t mean I don’t crave certain foods. Like pizza, and sausage, and cheese. Ohhh, glorious cheese. When that happens, I improvise.
Let’s face it. No one can eat just one piece of pizza. Heck, my five year olds will hoarf down 3 slices each. One slice of pizza will leave me feeling very hungry. And I don’t deal well with hungry. This pasta is a great compromise. It’s loaded with veggies, usually the odds and ends I have left in the bottom of the crisper drawer, and dotted with just enough delicious greasy Italian sausage to satisfy that greasy-Italian craving. I would love to substitute turkey Italian for regular Italian sausage, but I don’t have that option here. Maybe you do. Go for it. Plus, this recipe will make a whole pot of pasta. So, take it for lunch the next day too.
There are a couple of ingredients that I used that you may not be familiar with. The first one is the herbs-in-a-tube. This is my new favorite product. Why? Because I cannot get any fresh herbs in this town. Zero. So my monthly visit to the Kroger an hour away will now always include this stuff.
Second, is some fresh mozzarella that I found in the Mexican section of my Save-a-Lot. It’s much softer than the shredded stuff and gets all stringy and delicious. Yum.
- 1 lb. penne
- 2 Italian Sausage links, casings removed
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
- 1 summer squash, chopped
- 20 small, pitted black olives
- 1 T olive oil
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 1/4 c. fresh chopped basil
- 1 t. salt
- 6 oz. cubed mozzarella
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
- Cook penne in a large pot of salted water according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium high heat and cook sausage until no longer pink. Set aside.
- Next, add oil to the skillet. Saute onions, peppers, garlic, mushrooms, squash, and olives until veggies are cooked through. Stir in sausage, basil, red pepper flakes and salt.
- Drain pasta and return to the pot. Add in sausage and veggie mixture along with the cubed mozzarella and Parmesan. Stir well to combine. Serves about 6 people.