My Nonna often travels back to her homeland from her armchair. Every evening in fact. And so, when I stayed with her for the weekend, we visited Lidia’s Italy and she showed us the secret to perfect, saucy pasta: pasta water. When I visited my Mamma’s kitchen shortly after, she showed me how to take “perfect” to the next level: butter. (Don’t be shy, Men’s Health shows its good for you!)
In this recipe, I substitute butter for goat cheese, which gives the fresh Fall vegetables a lovely, refreshing and creamy touch. I’m saving my buttery Sausage and Pepper Pasta for my cookbook, but just to whet your appetite, I’ve included a sneak peek below!
Sausage and Pepper Pasta: Your sneak peek – a bowl of delectable goodness.
- Penne pasta - 5-6 portions penne pasta
- Olive oil - 3 tablespoons
- Yellow onion - 1 cup, sliced
- Cherry tomatoes - 1 cup
- Green beans - 1 cup 1-inch pieces of green beans
- Zucchini - 1 cup zucchini, julienned, or cut into thin "1 pinky finger x 1 pinky nail" sized strips
- Garlic - 2 tablespoons, minced
- Rosemary - 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary, or substitute for dried
- Thyme - 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, or substitute for dried
- Sea salt - 1/2 teaspoon
- Black pepper - 1/4 teaspoon, freshly ground
- Butter - 1.5 tablespoons of unsalted or salted butter
- Parsley leaves - 1 cup
- Goat cheese - 1.5 tablespoons of goat cheese (instead of butter)
- Water - 1 cup water, bit by bit
- Submerge the pasta in plenty of salted water, and bring to a boil. Follow the box or packet instructions for cooking time. Cook the pasta until al dente, or slightly firm - this will be 1-2 minutes before the suggested cooking time. Drain the pasta but save 1 cup of pasta water! Return the pasta to the pan and add a splash of olive oil to the pasta to keep it from sticking while you make the sauce - keep the pasta covered with a lid.
- In a cast iron skillet or large saute pan, heat the olive oil on medium-high heat.
- Add the onions, stir and coat with olive oil, and cover with a lid. Saute until translucent.
- Add the cherry tomatoes and squash them gently with the back of a spoon so the seeds burst into the pan. Saute until the skins shrivel.
- Add the green beans, zucchini, and garlic. Stir well. Add one tablespoon of pasta water, and cover with a lid. Cook until the beans and zucchini are tender.
- Add the herbs, salt, pepper and 3 tablespoons of pasta water. Stir well.
- Add the pasta and stir for about 5 more minutes. The pasta will finish cooking, while the pasta water will create a thicker sauce.
- Remove from the stovetop and stir in the parsley and goat cheese.