Fast Zucchini Sausage Ragu with Shells

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Do I have the only kid that refuses to eat pasta?!?  Will absolutely refuses to even sniff it. He used to eat it with no issues back in those carefree days between 1y r and 2 yrs.  Now, it is high on the list of “don’t you dare put that in front of me or I will lose my preschooler marbles”.

But like an insane person I keep trying.  The rest of the crew generally appreciates my efforts so I plow on forward.

sausage ragu matty (1 of 1)sausage ragu matty2 (1 of 1)

I was reading The Essential New York Times Cookbook by Amanda Hesser- it is a beast (932 pages) but so fabulous. Every other page I was making notes off of for things I had to try out.

This recipe was inspired by Mark Bittman’s Pasta with Fast Sausage Ragu (p. 343).  I added zucchini and grated cheese and this truly was a lovely, flavorful sauce for pasta that took as long to throw together as it did to cook the pasta.

sausage ragu finished (1 of 1)

You could certainly leave out the sausage if you are looking for a vegetarian dish – but the veggie load is much larger then the sausage in this one.  The sausage is there more for flavor then content.

Fast Zucchini Sausage Ragu with Shells
Ingredients
  • 1/2 lb pasta (I used shells)
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini grated on cheese grater, put into a towel or paper towel and wrung out to get excess water removed
  • 2 sweet italian sausage links, casings removed, broken into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese (grana padana, pecorino, parmesan)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of soft butter (optional)
  • optional – torn up fresh mozzarella or burrata or dollop of ricotta to put on top
Instructions
  1. Bring water to boil in large pot. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. While that is going, heat up 2 Tablespoons or so of olive oil for a minute. Add onion, saute for 3-4 minutes, then add zucchini and sausage pieces. Cook until sausage is no longer pink.
  3. Add tomato paste, whole milk, cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Add drained pasta- salt and pepper pasta and add softened butter – toss to coat.
  4. Serve with additional grated cheese or if you have it – torn up mozzarella/burrata or dollop of ricotta.

sausage ragu (1 of 1)sausage ragu2better (1 of 1)sausage ragu finished2 (1 of 1)

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