Penne Pasta with Escarole

Timing is everything when cooking. In order to have all your dishes hot and ready at the same time you have to plan and execute perfectly. One of the most basic keys to making this a success is having all of your ingredients prepared before you do any cooking. This may sound ridiculously obvious but it took me about 2 years of cooking on a semi-regular basis before I finally learned it is a must. Pull everything out on the counter. Chop what needs to be chopped. Peel what needs to be peeled. Prepare, prepare, prepare. When watching a cooking show I always thought “See! look how easy it is when everything is just ready for you! If it was always prepared like that I could cook, too.” And there was my great ‘Aha’ moment. No more were the days of rushing to finish chopping the onion to add it to the dish before it cooks too long and I end up with burnt bell pepper and raw onion… Much less stressful and much more successful.

This recipe I found on ivillage. I think I mentioned it before, I am a follower, not a leader. At least not yet, just about every time I try to create my own recipe its a big yucky flop. So from here on out unless I specify, assume that I found the recipe somewhere else. Believe me, if and when I invent something I feel good enough about to share here I will let you know it was my creation.

  • 1 lb. penne pasta
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 bunch escarole, rinsed, stemmed and torn into bite size pieces
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. While that is working, heat olive oil in a large saute pan or dutch oven over medium heat. Cook the onions and bell pepper, salt and pepper for 4 minutes until tender.

Cook penne for about 11 minutes or until tender, drain and set aside. Meanwhile, add sausage and cook for 6-8 minutes until browned, breaking pieces up with a wooden spoon.

Add the garlic and escarole and cook for 5 more minutes.

Transfer mixture into a large bowl, add penne, red pepper flakes, and Parmesan, toss to combine and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. Serve immediately.

I wish my sausage had been browned more but with two screaming children at my feet its about as best I could do at the moment. I was worried the veggies would over cook if I let it go longer, so it is just a little less beautiful than it could have been. But believe me, it tasted wonderful!