It’s been a while since I last cooked up my One-Pot Cheesy Pasta with Sausage. I decided to take the recipe out again for a quick spin. When I did, I hadn’t read my prior blog, I simply pulled out the recipe that I had saved and went for it. Well, sort of went for it. Hubby asked what we were having for dinner, and I told him One-Pot Cheesy Pasta Sausage Surprise. Why the surprise? Simple – because I didn’t know what kind of sausage was going into the pot. Yep, just like the first time I made the One-Pot Cheesy Pasta inspired by a recipe from The Slow Roasted Italian, I hadn’t a clue what the sausage might be. (How ironic is that! Imagine my surprise when I realized I had done it again.)
The original recipe from The Slow Roasted Italian called for Italian Chicken Sausage. Once again, the sausage I was using was part of a Costco purchase, with the original label missing. Only this time I knew it had to be either the Italian Chicken Sausage (like the recipe calls for) or the Jalapeno Chicken Sausage. I knew that on our last quarterly Costco run we had picked up two of the three-pack Chicken sausages – one Italian and the other Jalapeno. Quick confession – we had intended to simply get one of the Italian variety – it’s the one we use the most, but at the end of the aisle was one of those taste what we are selling stands and the Jalapeno Sausage rocked!
While coin-cutting the sausage for my supper, I noticed what appeared to be bits of Jalapenos tucked into sausage. Once it was fried up and ready to throw into the pot, I decided to taste the sausage, just to be on the safe side. After all, if it was Jalapeno, red wine and Parmesan Cheese might not be the logical way to go. Jalapeno it was – time to make a few quick adjustments. Out with the red wine, in with a splash of Tequila. Omit the salt (the Tequila would take care of that) and fresh pepper (Jalapenos needed no help). Parmesan Cheese at the finish wasn’t such a hot idea either, so I reached for the bag of Mexican Blend instead. The only other change was in the selection of tomatoes – the only change that was intentional from the start. I chose a blend of yellow and red tomatoes for added color.
Another “surprise” that turned out great! We went from Italy to Mexico in a flash!
One-Pot Spicy Pasta Sausage Surprise
3 cups Grape Tomatoes, divided
1 large onion, sliced into slivers
1 lb Jalapeno Sausage links, precooked (sliced into coins)
30 basil leaves, divided
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 lb dry linguine, broken in half
4 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup Tequila (or more to taste)
1 cup shredded Mexican Cheese Blend
Note: If you increase the Tequila, be sure to reduce the water by the same amount so that the liquid remains 4 1/2 cups total.
Cut grape tomatoes in half. Reserve (set aside) 1 cup halved tomatoes along with 10 basil leaves and all the cheese.
Coin-cut sausage and brown in a skillet to cook through.
In a large dutch oven, pour water and Tequila. Break pasta in half, place into the water mixture. Place coin-cut sausage over pasta. Add 2 cups of grape tomato halves, about 15-20 basil leaves roughly torn, and onion slivers. Scatter sliced garlic around the pot.
Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once liquid is boiling, remove cover and cook 7-9 minutes until pasta is al dente (with a bite to it). Toss pasta with tongs occasionally to keep the pasta from sticking and to combine all the ingredients as the pasta cooks. Liquid will be mostly absorbed when pasta is cooked.
Remove from heat, and place pasta into a large bowl. Sprinkle cheese over top, then add remaining tomato halves and basil. Let sit for a few minutes for cheese topping to naturally melt into the pasta. With tongs, pull pasta through cheese, toss to blend with additional tomato-basil and serve.
This dish has a nice balance of heat and sweetness. The flavor of the basil, the spice of the Jalapeno and the beauty of the tomatoes simply popped. It’s nice to be surprised, isn’t it?