T-Flo Strikes Again {pasta with sausage, mushrooms and artichokes}

There are a handful of Food Network personalities/celebrity chefs/chefletes that I inherently trust. They are not Sandra Lee, Rachael Ray or really anyone who has won a reality show to have a sandwich/$10 dinner/wristband, flaming blender and two-tone goatee cooking hour. When in need of a recipe, I’ll turn to Ina Garten, Anne Burrell and of course, the charming and enthusiastic Tyler Florence – or T-Flo as I call him.

This recipe is adapted from T-Flo’s Farmer’s Market Pasta but is even easier because I eliminated the roasted grape tomatoes. I’ve made this both ways, so feel free to click over to the Food Network site for his recipe, but I think I like my version better because it’s saucier (like me) and easier (no comment).

I know there are a handful of you out there who like to sneak vegetables into your meals for children (and husbands in some cases). This is a good compromise pasta dinner that can distract the carnivores with Italian sausage while providing a few vitamins and antioxidants at the same time.

Here’s the scoop:

  • 1 lb. hot Italian sausage
  • 1 large can whole tomatoes
  • 1 small can artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1-2 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 lb. cremini or white button mushrooms, halved
  • 1/2 lb. ziti or noodle of your dreams
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Start things off by heating a drizzle of olive oil in a large saucepan and adding the sausage. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the sausage is evenly browned.

Pull the sausage out of the pan to drain on a plate with a paper towel and give your pan a quick wipe-down to get the excess fat out (while leaving the tasty bits of pork). Add the mushrooms and saute over medium-high heat for 5 minutes.

(Quick interlude because the Today Show is on in the background: did I just hear that the Duggar’s really named one of their children Jedediah?)

Once your mushrooms have begun to get some color, add the zucchini to the pan and brown. Then add the artichokes and garlic and saute for another 2-3 minutes.

Once the artichokes have a bit of color, add your sausage back to the pan and then add the can of whole tomatoes. Either crush them in your hands if you feel like getting down and dirty or take a spoon and break them up as you go.

Cover and simmer while your pasta cooks.

Add the drained pasta of your choosing to the saucepan and give it a good stir.

Serve it up with some basil and parm and go to town. Pasta is so easy to cook and I tend to go blank when trying to think of new ways to serve it. Spaghetti and meat sauce is awesome but it’s nice to have a few other options when the time comes. I suppose if you wanted to be super healthy you could skip the sausage and add some red pepper flakes for flavor but why would you? Pork makes the world go round.