Well, so much for the spring like weather we had earlier this week! We went from 82 degrees on Tuesday, to 37 degrees yesterday. It was a chilly, damp, gray day…as I headed to Whole Foods, I knew I needed to have something warm and comforting for dinner. I wasn’t sure what I was going to make, so I decided to walk around the store to see what inspired me. I began my journey in the produce section…I picked up some asparagus, baby bello mushrooms, and a red pepper; a perfect little medley for roasting. I found some lovely tomatoes; baby plum, exotic cherry, and yellow pear…color for my salad. I turned the corner from the produce section into the cheese area. Chilly days are prefect for wine and cheese. Hmm…gorgonzola would sure warm things up! Pasta with roasted vegetables and gorgonzola….that would be perfect for dinner….well, almost; add chicken sausage to the dish and we are set. I picked up a bottle of Joel Gott 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, which paired beautifully with the salt and spice of the gorgonzola. For this recipe, I am using whole wheat penne pasta, cooking it in a bath of white wine and chicken broth. This technique infuses the pasta with flavor…similar to making risotto, but without as much stirring.
Give it a try:
Penne with Chicken Sausage, Roasted Vegetables, and Gorgonzola
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
1 pound asparagus, trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces
8 ounces baby bello mushrooms, halved
4 cloves garlic, minced, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pound chicken Italian sausage
1 pound whole wheat penne pasta
2 cups dry white wine
4 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 red bell pepper, seeded, roasted, seeded, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
2 large Roma tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place asparagus, mushrooms, and 2 cloves of minced garlic on a baking sheet. Add 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and pepper; mix thoroughly and bake for 20-25 minutes. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saute pan. Remove chicken sausage from the casing and crumble into oil. Cook, breaking up clumps, for about 5-7 minutes(until chicken is no longer pink). Transfer to paper towel lined plate; reserve. Add remaining 1/4 cup olive oil to a large skillet over very low heat. Add garlic, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the penne pasta, stirring well to coat. Increase the heat to medium high and add white wine; bring to boil and cook until almost all of the wine has been absorbed by the pasta, stirring occasionally. Add 2 cups of chicken broth, cook, stirring occasionally, until almost all of chicken broth has been absorbed by the pasta. Repeat with remaining chicken broth and cook until pasta is al dente. Add the lemon juice, roasted pepper, roasted vegetables, chicken sausage, and tomatoes to the pan; mix well. Add Gorgonzola and parsley; mix thoroughly. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Garnish with toasted pine nuts and serve immediately.