Clean Out Your Fridge Pasta

079In all fairness, this isn’t much of a recipe; more a handful of this and ‘oh look what I found in the veggie drawer, throw that in too.’ I make this dinner on busy school nights when soccer or basketball pull us in different directions and we don’t have a lot of time together.

Thankfully this is an incredibly forgiving dish so throw whatever veggies your family likes the best and play around to make it just right for you. Living in Yakima, I’m luck enough to hit the local farmers market or my favorite fruit stand for produce six months out of the year. Tomatoes, fresh basil and bell peppers aren’t exactly in season right now, but squash, carrots, parsnips, kale and cauliflower all work too.

Pasta with Veggies and Italian Sausage:

  • 1 pound ziti or penne pasta
  • 16 ounces, cherry tomatoes, washed and halved
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1 small yellow squash, chopped
  • ½ sweet onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons, fresh basil, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1 pound mild Italian sausage
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a heavily salted pot of water, boil pasta until tender, about 8 minutes. In a large saucepan, brown Italian sausage over medium heat. When the meat is cooked through, drain on a plate covered with a paper towel and set aside. In the same pot, sauté onion, bell pepper, zucchini and squash, scraping up the little brown bits from the bottom. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Once the veggies are tender, add the cherry tomatoes. Splash the whole mixture with balsamic vinegar and cook for 5-7 minutes until the onions are translucent and the vegetables are tender. Stir in garlic and cook for two more minutes. Add the sausage back into the pot. Drain pasta and stir in the noodles. Turn off heat and sprinkle entire dish with fresh basil and parmesan cheese.



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