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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Stovetop Pasta Casserole

This is such a "me" dish.....throw a whole bunch of ingredients you find in your fridge in a pan, cook up a little pasta, use up some left over sauce, and voila!  Yumminess all in one pan.

So, here's what I found to use this time:

½ yellow pepper
1 Vidalia onion
a box of baby kale
cherry tomatoes
Pine nuts
kalamata olives
sweet Italian sausage (of course!)
Crushed red pepper
Parmesan cheese
left over pasta sauce (see the recipe below)

Here's a quick recap of the great pasta sauce.   Simmer 1 can of stewed tomatoes, 1 stick of butter and 1 whole Vidalia onion cut up, along with 4-5 smashed cloves of garlic for about 30 minutes.  When the onion is nice and tender, use a hand blender or food processor and puree.  Add salt and pepper to taste along with some Parmesan cheese.  That is it!  Pure tomato flavor....

Back to my creation..... After the onion and peppers are beginning to get tender, I throw in the cut-up kale and let that wilt.  While the wilting is going on,  cook up your sausage meat.  When it is all cooked, start a bowl of "ingredients."

I think I'll cook the pasta next.  While that is cooking, I cut up my cherry tomatoes and kalamata olives and throw them in the bowl.  I never cook the tomatoes when I make one of these meals.  I hate it when the tomatoes are mushy, so by adding them uncooked, the heat of the dish will make them just right.

Here's what the ingredients look like so far...

Once the pasta is cooked, I throw that in, along with some shredded Parmesan cheese.  I now start to build my flavors.  I decided to sprinkle in some basil, a little garlic powder (because I didn't taste enough garlic flavor from the fresh garlic I added), a little crushed red pepper, and some salt and pepper.  That's it.  Everything else speaks for itself!

The only thing left is a sauce to tie it all together.  This time, I had some leftover home made tomato sauce in the fridge and thought it would be a great way to use it up!  Once all of this is mixed together, I put it back on the stove to heat up.  One last ingredient that is purely something that I chose to do, was to add a small amount of Caesar dressing, only because I happen to like a little creaminess to these dishes, but please feel free to use your own discretion.  If you're not sure how it will taste, put a small amount of the pasta in a small bowl and add a little and mix in!  If you agree that it makes it yummy, go ahead and add it to the pasta...

Here it is...another "me dish."  I tried to make it as healthy as possible.  Feel free to substitute things such as ground turkey instead of sausage, or any other vegetable that you love.  I guarantee it will come out delicious.

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