Spicy Sausage and Veggie Tortiglioni

I love tomatoes. I love sausage. I love vegetables. But most of all, I love pasta. If I had to choose my last meal on earth, without hesitation it would be spaghetti and meatballs, some cheesy garlic bread and a glass of wine. Pasta sauces are just so full of flavour!

Recently I found a new pasta in the grocery store that I’d never seen before: bocconcini. I’ve had penne, rigatoni, spaghetti, linguine, fettucine, spaghettini, fusili, …the list goes on. But bocconcini? Doesn’t that term refer to a mozzarella cheese?

It reminded me of a cross between rigatoni and penne rigate. Upon further investigation, I learned that it’s also (and pretty much always) referred to as “tortiglioni.” How strange. From now on I’ll refer to it as tortiglioni, despite the packaging.

I also had some spicy sausage in my freezer and leftover spinach from an earlier meal. The wheels started turning and I came up with this recipe! My husband looked at me after his first bite and said “Hon, this is a win.”

So, using up some ingredients from my fridge, I made this!

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Spicy Sausage and Veggie Tortiglioni
Serves: 6

4 sausages, hot, casings removed
1 red onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1 1/2 cup mixed mushrooms, sliced
1 large zucchini
2 tsp basil, dried
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp Italian seasoning, dried
3 handfuls of spinach
500g of tortiglioni pasta
1/2 cup red wine
1 can whole tomatoes
1 can crushed tomatoes
2 tbsps oil
Parmesan cheese

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Add oil to wok or large pan and heat. Add onion and after 2 minutes add garlic. After another 2 minutes add peppers, mushrooms, basil and Italian seasoning.

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Saute for 5 minutes and add sausage. Allow the sausage to brown before adding tomatoes, wine and sugar. Let simmer, covered, for at least 2 hours.

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Meanwhile, near the end of cooking time, cook the pasta according to package instructions and add the spinach to the sauce once the pasta is added to the boiling water. Remove the lid to the sauce and allow to simmer for the next 15 minutes, uncovered.

Once pasta is cooked, drain and return to pot.

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Spoon sauce over pasta until it has reached your desired sauce/noodle ratio. Serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

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Notes:

1) You can use mild or hot sausage, or a combination of the two.
2) Rigatoni or another large noodle would also work well in this dish.
4) I bought a 900g bag of tortiglioni pasta and used a little more than half. I spooned most of the sauce – except about 1 cup or so – over the pasta.
5) I’ve made sauces similar to this before and it freezes well. I almost always have sauce leftover so I freeze the sauce and cook up fresh pasta for a future meal. Any leftover sauce and pasta already mixed together I save for meals during the week.
6) I used Inniskillin’s Cabernet Franc (Inniskillin is a great Canadian wine maker!) and enjoyed a glass with my meal :). Red wine and tomato sauce are meant for each other.

Enjoy!

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