A long time ago, before kids, when I worked outside of the home every day, stovetop pasta dishes were one of my favorite fast standby meals. They have endless variations, leading to endless creativity, and they cook up very quickly. Since becoming a stay at home mom, I do have more time to putter in the kitchen (and I love it), but I find myself turning to those same pasta dishes a lot in the summer. I think that is because when it is hot and sweaty outside I don’t always want to spend any time in the kitchen, especially during the hottest time of day late afternoon hours.
The kids went bonkers for this meal. Just flat out bonkers. Begging us to have again the next night and the next. I asked if they would ever like me to make something like this on a Sunday and then send the leftovers for a few school lunches that week in a thermos.
What is it about elementary school aged children and their need to have something for lunch that all of the other kids recognize as lunch? It did not matter how much they loved this dish, they were not taking it to school. Sigh. On an amusing related note, we recently had a little girl over for dinner and I served a frittata. Alex told her: “It’s weird, but don’t worry it is really good.”
I was not sure if I should be appalled or complimented.
At any rate, this was definitely a success for dinner. I used a wonderful Rustichella d’Abruzzo Farro Pizzichi pasta that I had bought at Jungle Jim’s, but I quickly realized it would not be enough so I added some Barilla Plus bowtie pasta, so you may notice 2 very different kinds of pasta in there. They were both delicious. For sausage I used Aidells Chicken & Apple Sausage that I had hanging out in my freezer–I love their chicken sausages and would not hesitate to use a different one in this same dish. Likewise, the girls voted to sprinkle it with grated Parmigiano Reggiano, but we almost used crumbled goat cheese instead, and I think both would work equally well. Dishes like this are really flexible.
- 1 lb dried medium sized pasta of choice, preferably made of farro, cooked to al dente
- 1 lb chicken apple sausage, sliced into half-moons
- 2 T extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 6-8 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 T minced fresh thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- hefty pinch ground coriander
- 1 lb sliced crimini mushrooms
- 3 tart apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored and sliced
- 2 medium-large tomatoes, cut into large chunks (mine were heirloom yellow tomatoes)
- grated Parmigiano Reggiano for garnish
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and brown for about 5-8 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel covered plate.
Add the onions with a pinch of salt to the oil. Cook, lightly caramelizing, for 10 minutes. Add the garlic and fresh thyme and toss for 2 minutes. Add another pinch of salt and the ground coriander.
Add the mushrooms in 3 bunches, browning a little inbetween additions to avoid overcrowding the pan and steaming the mushrooms. Add a pinch of salt each time--mushrooms need salt! When the mushrooms have reduced a bit in size and are browning, after about 10 minutes total, add the apple slices and tomatoes. Toss and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the browned sausage and toss again, and cook for another 3-5 minutes to allow flavors to meld. Taste for salt and pepper before serving and sprinkle with grated Parmigiano Reggiano.