In my neck of the woods, summer time comes with quite a bit of traveling. Invariably, when returning from a trip, our garden seems to be overloaded with fresh tomatoes. If you are used to the tomatoes you get from the store, you would be absolutely blown away by the taste of the tomatoes you grow at home. In fact, I think that, if you don't think you have the time or the green thumb to grow your own veggies, tomatoes should be the one plant you give a try. They really don't require much aside from a bit of water. You can even grow them in a container or a large pot and if your space is limited, having one or two plants on a patio or balcony should still be possible. The rewards are amazing – nothing you can buy in a store can compare.
With that in mind, my focus has long been on creating dishes that are – you guess it: mostly beige – but that also incorporate those lovely fresh tomatoes.
Here, then, is a dish that does just that. To make it a bit more substantial, I've added sweet Italian sausage – just make sure you buy sausage that has exceptional taste. In my case, I used sausage from Sprouts Organic Market and I couldn't be happier.
¾ lb. penne
1 Tbs. Canola oil (or other cooking oil)
3 sweet Italian sausages (roughly 1 lb.)
½ cup reduced-sodium beef broth
2 small yellow crookneck squashes (or 1 medium), cut in half lengthwise and then sliced into 1/4-inch slices
2 cups chopped tomatoes (cored and seeded)
3 Tbs. fresh basil (chopped)
3 large green onions (or 5 small ones), cut into 1/4-inch slices (white and green parts)
3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbs. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Let's get started:
Fill a large pot with water and a generous helping of salt.
Bring to a boil.
Add the penne and cook until al dente according to directions.
While the pasta is boiling get started on the sauce.
Heat a Dutch oven or large non-stick pot over medium high heat.
Add the canola oil.
Add the whole sausages.
Cook the sausages for about two minutes on each side until they are slightly brown.
Remove the sausages and place on a cutting board.
Cut the sausages into 1/4-inch slices.
Add the sausage slices back to the Dutch oven or pot and brown from all sides for another 3 minutes.
When the sausage slices are nicely browned, reduce heat to low.
Add the beef broth.
Cover and let simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the yellow squash slices.
Add the chopped tomatoes.
Add 2 Tbs. of the chopped basil.
Raise heat and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for another 5 minutes.
Add the green onions.
Stir and simmer for another 2 minutes without a cover.
By now, the pasta should be done.
Drain the pasta.
Add the pasta to the sausage and veggie mix.
Stir in the 3 Tbs. of extra virgin olive oil.
Add the remaining basil.
Stir to mix.
Serve on individual plates and top with the grated Parmesan.