My husband recently had a long bike ride planned…… in fact it was a 200 mile long ride. A friend who was turning 70 years old wanted to celebrate his Birthday by riding 200 miles and my husband decided to join in the fun. Though I frankly thought anyone wanting to ride 200 miles in one day was a little crazy, it just goes to show you how fit these cyclists are! The ride took place on Saturday and began at 6:30am, finishing just over 10 hours later with a few short breaks in between. In planning this ride my husband requested pasta, LOTS of it in fact, so he could carb load in preparation. He did in fact eat pasta for both lunch and dinner a couple of days before his ride, so I needed some quick and easy pasta recipes to prepare for him.
I was sent a couple of packages of Italian sausages from Caldarello to taste test. This is a family run business that began using a secret family sausage recipe that has won awards throughout the years. It all began in 1959 when Louie started making homemade sausage for friends and family….. Fifty-Four years later Caldarello sausage has won many National and Regional cooking competitions which led to them being inducted into the Sausage Makers Hall of Fame in 2009. I love Italian sausage and am quite particular about my sausage having enjoyed delicious homemade sausage prepared by my in-laws over the years as well as traditionally made sausage from Umbria. We do eat a lot of sausage when we are in Italy, so I was curious to try this sausage from Caldarello. I chose to use the sausage in an easy pasta recipe that combines zucchini and sausage, removing the sausage from the casing to cook it. After sampling the sausage after it was cooked, I found it very full flavored, perfectly seasoned and delicious. This Caldarello sausage when paired with the zucchini, some garlic, onion, and seasonings created a delicious dish of pasta.
This is one of those simple Italian recipes that can be thrown together quickly but is full of flavor (particularly when using Caldarello sausage!), and is hearty enough to be a complete meal paired with some crusty Italian bread and a crisp mixed greens salad. My husband likes things spicy, so I added some red pepper flakes, but you can skip them if you are preparing this pasta for kids. I chose to use fusilloni pasta (large spirals), but just about any pasta shape works well in this pasta dish.
Deborah Mele 2014
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil, Divided
- 1 Pound Zucchini, Trimmed & Sliced
- 1 Medium Onion, Peeled & Diced
- 4 Cloves Garlic, Minced
- 1/3 Cup Fresh Parsley Leaves, Chopped
- Salt & Pepper
- 1/2 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
- 3/4 Pound Pasta Of Choice
- Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
- In a large skillet, heat one tablespoon of oil over medium heat, and cook the sausage meat, breaking it up with two forks as it cooks.
- Cook the meat until it is completely cooked and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.
- Transfer the meat to a dish and empty out any fat.
- Add the remaining two tablespoons of oil to the skillet and add the zucchini and onions and cook over medium heat until the vegetables are golden brown and tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook another minute or two.
- Return the meat to the skillet, and season with parsley, salt, pepper, and pepper flakes.
- While the vegetables are cooking, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions until it is “al dente”.
- Drain the pasta, reserving a small cup of pasta water, then return the pasta to the pot.
- Over high heat, toss the pasta with the sausage and zucchini mixture, adding a little of the pasta water to loosen the “sauce”.
- Serve in individual bowls, topped with a spoonful of the grated cheese.