NO! I did NOT say anything about canned cream of mushroom soup. Ew. Take a deep breath and clear your mind of that grossness.
OK, so what I’m talking about here is the Chicken Sicilian sausage from TJ’s, portobello mushrooms, onions, garlic, peas (organic, of course), and MASCARPONE. Yummy! “Where did this notion come from?” you might ask. Well, the answer is Aunt Anne + a container of mascarpone that I couldn’t figure out what to do with. Aunt Anne was the genius behind pairing that sausage with peas and making it into a nice delicious hearty pasta dinner. I added the other stuff because I can never leave well enough alone, and we hit on something so delicious that the rest of the culinary geniuses in my family have also adopted this as a regularly occurring dish.
The recipe below makes enough for four normal sized adults for dinner, with a salad. If you make it ahead of time and the pasta starts getting mushy, just pour everything into a casserole dish and bake with some parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. This gets it nice and crunchy, which is another delicious incarnation of this dish, thought of by my own mother! That’s a good way to use leftovers of this, as well.
NOTE on the sausage: A lot of the flavor of this dish comes from the sausage. I know my poor Texas friends do not have access to Trader Joe’s, but maybe Whole Foods has something similar? You can use hot or mild (or a combination thereof) Italian sausage, but it won’t taste the same…or you can go to Whole Foods and find a similar sausage that contains Romano cheese, parsley, and tomatoes, or something along those lines.
NOTE on the pasta: Try to select a shape that is either small enough to fit more than one pasta unit into one bite with everything else (like the elbows in the picture), or something that the peas will get stuck inside of, like penne or orechietti (that one is my favorite, but it’s hard to find). Shells work great, or these Barilla Campanelle. Bow ties or wagon wheels are OK.
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 – 6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 lb (1 package) Chicken Sicilian sausage from TJ’s (it’s the uncooked kind), casings removed
1/2 lb portobellos or crimini, cubed (or to quicken the process, just use one package of the pre-sliced kind)
1 lb frozen peas (organic, if possible)
8 oz mascarpone
red pepper flakes to taste
1/2 lb pasta, cooked and drained
- Prepare bunions, stirring occasionally until they start to caramelize.
- Add sausage (removed from casings), stirring to break up the meat as it browns. Add red pepper flakes now, if desired.
- When sausage has cooked through, add mushrooms. Cover and stir occasionally until they have cooked through and have made a nice broth in the pot.
- Add the frozen peas, cover again and stir occasionally until they start to shrivel a little bit.
- When the peas start to get wrinkly, start your pasta water (in another pot).
- When you put your pasta to the boiling water, that is when you should stir the mascarpone into the pea/sausage/mushroom mixture.
- When all of the mascarpone has been melted/stirred into the sauce, turn off the stove.
- Cook the pasta al dente, drain, and then add to the pot with the sausage/pea/mushroom mixture.
- Stir it all together, and then dish it up.
- Top with freshly grated parmesan and maybe some fresh ground pepper.
- If you cook this in advance and the pasta starts to get mushy, pour it all into a casserole dish and bake at 375 for about 20 minutes to get everything nice and crispy. This is also great to do with leftovers of this dish.