February 7, 2013

Creamy Tomato Pasta Skillet with Chicken Sausage and Caramelized Onions

 
This is one of those weeknight / Sunday night meals that only takes about 30 minutes and is comforting and delicious! The variation possibilities are endless, the chicken sausage could be swapped for meatballs and you could pretty much use any kind of pasta. 
 
This would be a perfect dish to whip up on Valentine's day.  Served with bread and wine, of course! :)
 
 
Ingredients:
 
1 lb of pasta - I used orecchiette {your favorite small pasta}
1 package of chicken sausage
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1 can chicken broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons Italian herb mix
Salt and pepper to taste
 
 
{I love going to my fridge, pantry and cabinets and gathering ingredients to create an easy and delicious meal for my family!  I adore being in the kitchen, I wish I could cook every single night of the week but that just doesn't happen. LOL! Cory pitches in majorly; I am so thankful! :)}
 

{I love chicken sausage! Before this, I had only tried the roasted garlic variety but decided to go the Italian route for this dish.  I love that chicken sausage is a healthy alternative than the full-fat pork version.}

{Ok, I end that last statement talking about how healthy chicken sausage is, but then I skip to a pan of BUTTER! LOL! :) In my defense, I think caramelized onions would not get as caramely without butter. So to my small cast iron skillet over medium LOW heat, I added 3 tablespoons of butter.}

{Add the onions, stir and just let them get nice and brown, stirring occasionally.}
 
{While the onions are caramelizing, slice your sausage and put on a large pot of boiling water for the pasta.  Be sure to generously salt your pasta water!}

{To a really large pan {I used my large cast iron skillet} and over medium heat, add your oil and your sausage and stir to evenly cook on all sides.}


{Once the sausage slices are brown and a little crisp, remove and drain on paper towel.}

{Your onions should be getting sweet and caramely. YUM!}

{Once you remove the sausage, add half of your chicken broth can.  Scrape up the small bits from the bottom of the pan.}

{Add you tomato paste, whisking to dissolve it in the broth.}

{Your water should be boiling, time to add the pasta.  I used Orecchiette {or elephant ear}, it's a favorite in my house.  The texture is amazing and the pasta is like little bowls to absorb whatever is being poured over. so good!}

{The tomato paste/broth mixture should be bubbling a bit - add in your Italian herbs and season really well with salt and pepper.}

{Lower the heat a bit and add in your heavy cream.}

{Let this simmer on low heat until it comes back up to a bubble.}

{Add in your Parmesan cheese.}

{Whisk in the rest of your chicken broth.}

{The sweet and golden caramelized onions should be ready to join the party.  These give the dish an insane amount of flavor. Yes!}

{The orecchiette was so perfect for this - see, little pasta bowls. So cute!}

{Drain really well.  I let my pasta sit in the colander over the hot pot to dry completely.}

{Add the caramelized onions to the cheesy and creamy tomato sauce.}

{Then add your browned sausage.}

{Add your pasta to the pot.  {Note: I did not add the entire box to my skillet. I knew we would not eat it all.  I bagged up the leftover pasta to add to my salad for lunch the next day.}

Mix your yumminess all together... and taste. ...add in more cheese if you need to... add in more cream if you need to... salt and pepper if you need to.  Want it a bit spicy? Add in some red pepper flakes. Make sure it's seasoned perfectly.}

{Mine needed more cheese and salt and pepper.  Looking at this now, could you imagine adding bacon to this? My goodness! I may have to do that next.}

{Mix well and let this thicken a bit over the low heat for a minute or two.  I added a sprinkling of dried parsley for some color and prettiness.}

{Dish it up and serve. :) We had a simple salad on the side of romaine, tomato and Italian vinaigrette.  This could not have been a better dinner!}
 
Have you tried chicken sausage?
 
xoxo, thanks for reading! ♥

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