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Pasta with Oven-Roasted Tomatoes & Spicy Sausage

Alright, guys. This pasta is epic. It's delicious. LIGHT (yes, light!). Flavorful. And, really, just very, very good. And there's veggies in it, so you don't feel guilty at all. Nope, not at all. :)


There's just something really special about oven-roasted tomatoes. I want to call these "fire-roasted" because that sounds more fun, but it's kind of misleading, even though that's basically what these are - without the open flame. If you know me, you know I'm accident prone. As I'm still healing from last month's emergency trip to the hospital thanks to a stupid mandoline mishap, I thought I'd play it safe this time.

The flavor is just insanely good. A little char...a little garlic...a little fresh herbs...I mean, c'mon! The BEST!


This is actually an incredibly simple dish to make, too. The most work you have is roasting the tomatoes, and the oven takes care of that. This is also a lightly sauced dish, which I think is perfect for summer. I mean, don't get me wrong, I love a good saucy meal, but warm days in Portland call for light, home-cooked meals. Right?!


Anyhoo - make this one, guy. I promise it's good!


AND, for anyone who's wondering: what on earth is that pasta? Oh, it's only one of my favorite shapes: GEMELLI. I don't even know if I pronounce it correctly, but it's just one of those fun pastas that I love buying whenever I see it!

Enjoy!

Pasta with Fire-Roasted Tomatoes & Spicy Sausage

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes

Total time: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Servings: 4-6


INGREDIENTS:


1/2lb short pasta (half of box, gemelli, penne, rigatoni, etc.)

1lb spicy ground sausage

5-6 medium tomatoes, havled

1/2 pint of cherry/grape tomatoes, halved

5oz spinach

1/2 sweet onion, minced

6 garlic cloves, minced + divided

3 calabrian chilies, minced

3/4 cup chicken/vegetable stock, divided

2 Tbsp fresh herbs, divided, minced (mixed oregano, thyme, rosemary)

2 Tbsp butter

1/4 cup + 1/3 cup olive oil, divided

salt + pepper

freshly grated Parmesan cheese

basil leaves, julienne + garnish


INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and make sure one of the racks is in the middle of the oven.

  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and set aside.

  3. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together 1/3 cup olive oil with 1 Tbsp fresh herbs, 2 garlic cloves (minced) and season with salt and pepper.

  4. Dip each of the halved larger tomatoes halved side down into olive oil/herb mixture and then place halved side up onto baking sheet. You want the oily side facing up! Make sure olive oil and a little bit of the herbs is on each of the tomatoes. With the halved cherry/grape tomatoes, toss in the mixing bowl with remaining olive oil/herb mixture and then place on baking sheet. Drizzle any remaining olive oil/herb mixture over top of all tomatoes.

  5. Place in oven and bake for 35-40 minutes. Tomatoes should be nice and soft and slightly charred. When done cooking, set aside until ready to use.

  6. When there's about 10 minute left in the cook time on the tomatoes, start on the pasta and sauce.

  7. Heat a large pot of water until just starting to boil. Season with lots of salt - you want it to taste like the sea! (That's my Food Network tip of the day!) Add pasta and boil until it's easy to pierce with your finger nail/cut with a knife.

  8. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large pan or dutch oven over medium heat.

  9. When oil shimmers, add minced onion. I like to mince my onion in a small food processor with 1/8 cup water. It gets nice and smooth! The water will cook off! Cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add 4 garlic cloves (minced), minced calabrian chilies and butter. Stir to combine and cook until garlic is fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add remaining fresh herbs and stir to combine.

  10. Stir in 1/4 cup of stock. Allow it to cook down, about 2-3 minutes.

  11. Add sausage and with a wooden spoon or spatula, break up into smaller pieces, stirring as you cook. Saute until just about cooked through. Add tomatoes and remaining stock and bring mixture to a slight simmer. When liquid is just about cooked off, lower temperature and add spinach. The spinach will wilt! Add pasta to mixture and stir to combine thoroughly. Taste it. There should be some saltiness from the pasta and sausage, but if you feel it needs any more seasoning, add to your liking! I probably added a good pinch of both salt and pepper.

  12. Divide into bowls and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and basil.

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