Thursday, March 10, 2011

Chicken Sausage Rigatoni in Spicy Vodka Sauce

This recipe is from Sunny Anderson on Food Network. It had a lot of great reviews and used some of the ingredients I was buying for other meals this week (including the big piece of Asiago I bought for the risotto!) so I thought I'd give it a try.

This could take any kind of sausage, or even ground beef/pork/chicken/turkey if you'd like. I used chicken sausage, per the recipe, this time.

It was a warm, hearty, fairly inexpensive meal that is great for a weeknight since it took about 30 minutes, start to finish. It's very flavorful and tasty and we both enjoyed it a lot. It also made a ton so it's great for a large family (or lots of leftovers!). I did not use hot paprika, just regular paprika, and while there was some hidden heat in the background, it wasn't even spicy enough for me to need a drink nearby (and I'm a big baby). You could always leave out the jalapeno if you want no spice at all, or add some hot paprika, cayenne, or include the ribs/seeds to the jalapeno if you want more heat.

Chicken Sausage Rigatoni in Spicy Vodka Sauce
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound chicken sausage, casings removed
1/2 cup roughly chopped onion
1 jalapeno, chopped (I discarded most of the ribs and seeds)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup roughly chopped green pepper (I skipped)
1 teaspoon Hungarian hot paprika (I used regular paprika)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes with basil (I used diced)
1/3 cup vodka
1 cup heavy cream
1 pound rigatoni
1 cup grated Asiago cheese
3 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley leaves

Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta. In a large saute pan over medium heat melt butter with oil. Add chicken sausage and brown, 3 to 4 minutes, breaking up large chunks with a wooden spoon. Add onions, jalapenos and garlic and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add green pepper, paprika, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, to taste, and cook 3 minutes more.

Generously salt the pasta water and add the rigatoni. Cook until al dente, about 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, add tomatoes to the sauce and bring to a simmer, for about 10 minutes. Add vodka and cream and cook a few minutes more. Toss in cheese and chopped parsley. To serve, drain the pasta well and add to the sauce. Mix until pasta is nicely coated. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

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