Meaty Monday: Pasta with Caramelized Tomatoes and Sausage

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We take a break from Meatless Monday because, well, I forgot to allot a meatless meal this week. Lately, I’ve been booking two (sometimes three) meatless dinners during the week. It appears that I just flaked while shopping on Sunday. Everything coming to the table between now and week’s end will have meat, glorious meat, involved.

The most attractive part of this recipe from the wonderfully named Aida Mollenkamp is its simplicity: five ingredients, the final you could eliminate depending on your preference.

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WHAT WORKED: The Easy. The most laborious part was slicing sausage and tomatoes.

WHAT DIDN’T: My red pepper flakes, which are a few years old and have lost their punch.

WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: Nothing. Today was an endless stream of us complaining about her job and her horrendous co-workers.

WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: Yes. Not much to change either, as the sausage has just the right flavor to keep this from tasting like nothing. Maybe a little caramelized onion or shallot here next time, just for fun.

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Pasta with Caramelized Tomatoes and Sausage Recipe
Adapted from Aida Mollenkamp at

  • 1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, sliced
  • 8 oz. grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 lb. dry shaped pasta, (I used penne)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • heaping soup-spoonful of Pecorino Romano cheese

Bring a large stockpot of water to boil and salt well.

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In the meantime, heat a large saucepan or medium skillet over medium-high heat. Hold your hand over the bottom of the pan. When it becomes too hot for your hand, remove it and add the sausage to the pan. Cook until well-browned, stirring every few minutes to cook evenly, about 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer sausage to a bowl with a slotted spoon and drain all but 1 tbsp. of grease from the pan. Lower heat to medium and add the tomatoes. Add salt and pepper, and toss to coat with sausage grease. Cook until tender, approximately 3 minutes.

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Cook your pasta per the package’s directions. Prior to draining, ladle out 1/2 cup of cooking water and add it to the tomatoes and scrape the pan to deglaze. Add the sausage to the pan for 1 minute to bring the flavors together.

Drain the pasta and toss with red pepper and romano cheese.

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