Penne with Sausage, Artichokes, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Another new favorite from Giada that is easy and inexpensive to make. Pasta and Italian sausage makes for a hearty meal, and the sun-dried tomatoes and artichokes add earthiness to the flavor and a touch of elegance to the dish. Use hot sausages to warm things up a bit.
The sun-dried tomatoes come packed in oil when bought in a jar. I started by draining this oil out of the tomatoes and into a bowl.

Here is the drained oil. We need 2 T of this heating at medium-high in a large frying pan.

While the oil is heating, I'm peeling the casings off of my sausages. All I've done here is slice through the sausage the long way and unwrap the casing from around the meat. My wife is so glad I finally deleted this picture off the camera; it was the first thing she'd see whenever she went to go download pics.

Once the oil is heated, the sausages go into the pan. While the sausage is browning use your utensil to break them up into bite size chunks or crumble as I will do. It's really a texture preference, so whichever way you want to go.

While the sausage is sufficiently broken and browning there's time to slice up 3/4 C of the drained tomatoes and chop 2 cloves of garlic. Or, if you're not a dork like me you would have had this done as part of prep before even turning the stove on. But hey, that's me, I fry by the seat of my pants..

Sausage browned and desired crumble achieved.

Transfer the meat into a bowl - we'll be coming back for this.

Right now we want to put our artichokes and chopped garlic into the same frying pan we cooked the sausage in. The stove should have never gone off, and the pan should still be holding the heat. The directions say the artichokes should be thawed, but since when do I follow instructions?

My stove kind of stinks, so this is the part where I start boiling a large pot of water for the penne. The water won't be ready for a few minutes. If you have an awesome stove that boils water in seconds, you can probably get away with waiting a few minutes before starting it.

After a couple of minutes the garlic will be tender, and if you did like me and didn't thaw your artichokes, they should be starting to soften up as well. When the time is right (don't let your garlic burn) add your chicken broth, white wine, and the sun-dried tomatoes.

Bring this whole deal to a boil and then reduce heat to let simmer for about 8 minutes. It will reduce slightly, which is good, you want it to.

Let's pretend that my water is boiling now, so I'm adding the penne to cook for about 8 minutes. You'll want it slightly al-dente so it'll absorb more juices later. Here you see me getting my Parmesan, parsley and basil ready for the next step.

Waiting for pasta to cook and stuff to reduce...I actually had time to do some dishes. Lily thanked me for this later.

Pasta's up and drained. Do not rinse.

Our artichoke mix has been reduced nicely.

Everything into the pot!

Sausage, basil, parsley, Parmesan - everything in and incorporate.

Add the pasta to the artichoke mix and fold it in, don't whip or stir vigorously or your ingredients may break apart into a mushy mess, or depending on the size pan you're using you may end up with a horrific mess on your stove. The pasta will absorb most the remaining juices from the artichoke mix.

The directions don't say this, but I let this cook for a few minutes to let all the new flavors marry. Stir is occasionally to be sure of even distribution.

Stir in your mozzarella. Taste a small bite and add salt and pepper as needed.
Serve into bowls and top with more Parmesan cheese.

The verdict on this was good, but I will change some things the next time I make it.

First of all, the oil from the tomatoes is olive oil, which doesn't agree with me or my wife, so next time I will try using sun-dried tomatoes that do not come in an oil-packed jar. I will probably be sacrificing some flavor, but I will substitute vegetable oil instead.

Secondly, I normally like turkey Italian sausage. I know, I know you probably think that's absurd and are doing something funny with your eyebrows to show how appalled you are. Truthfully, I like it better because it's not greasy and because it doesn't contain hard gristly bits of fat that are unappealing to bite down on.

I also used white grape juice instead of wine simply because alcohol doesn't exist in my house.

This dish is at the very least restaurant quality, only it will cost you about the same to make this for your whole family, or for multiple servings, as it would for a single plate at the restaurant. Another benefit to making something like this at home is that you can control exactly what ingredients are going into it, and that's incredibly important if you're diet conscious.

I'm happy to be back in action on my blog, and I appreciate you taking the time to read.

Penne with Sausage, Artichokes, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes Recipe

Giada's Family Dinners

3/4 C drained, oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
2 T of the sun-dried tomato oil reserved
1 pound Italian sausages, hot, casings removed
16 oz pkg frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 3/4 C chicken broth
1/2 C dry white wine
12 oz penne
1/2 C shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1/3 C fresh basil, chopped
1/4 C fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
8 oz fresh mozzarella, drained and cubed
salt and pepper

Heat the oil reserved from the tomatoes in large frying pan over medium-high.
Brown sausage, crumbling while cooking. Transfer to bowl.

Add artichokes and garlic to the same pan and saute until garlic is tender.
Add broth, wine, and sun-dried tomatoes.
Boil over medium-high heat until sauce reduces, about 8 min.

Meanwhile bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Add penne and cook, about 10 min.
Stir often to prevent pasta from sticking.
Drain pasta but do not rinse.

Add pasta, sausage, 1/2 C of the Parmesan, basil, and parsley to the artichoke mixture.
Toss until sauce is almost absorbed.
Stir in mozzarella. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve with additional Parmesan.

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