The meal plan promises Spaghetti with Italian Sausage Marinara tonight. Well, there will be pasta...penne...leftover from the Blushing Penne a couple of weeks ago. And there will be sausage, all browned and ready from Pizza Night, which if you're new to this blog happens every Friday in my home. Let me begin by saying that two items you will always find in my pantry are a jar of plain old store brand spaghetti sauce and a box of whole wheat spaghetti. It's my go to meal in a time crunch or when I don't know what else I want to cook. Everyone is always happy with spaghetti. When sauce or pasta go on sale, I stock up. Sometimes when I inventory the pantry, I think, "Gee, do we really need 5 jars of spaghetti sauce?" My point being, it's always on hand. Somehow, I began this meal with neither sauce nor spaghetti. Usually, failure to plan is planning to fail....only this time I came away a winner. This meal was good.
So, I began preparing my spaghetti sauce as I always do. I slice some onions and chop a clove or two of garlic and saute them in a little olive oil. Then, I put on water to boil for the pasta.
When the onion was tender, I took the Italian sausage I cooked for last night's pizza out of the fridge (about half of a pound)and put it in the skillet to heat up.
Now I throw in some sliced mushrooms (pre-sliced from pizza the night before) and basil and oregano. I just dump. Not sure how much. No more than a teaspoon of each. I cook and stir this for a couple of minutes.
My next move is to put the pasta in the boiling water and dump a jar of spaghetti sauce into the skillet with the sausage, onions, and spices. So, I walk to the pantry to grab the jar of sauce and the spaghetti. Only, I can't find either one. I'm out of both. Not in the mood to head to the store in the middle of dinner prep and not willing to give up and eat freezer pizza, I start looking for substitutes. I've got a box of penne. Good. Besides, it's easier for the baby to pick up and eat. What else....hmmm. Yes! I've got a can of tomato sauce! So, I put the penne on to boil, and dump the tomato sauce into the skillet. Now I just had to season and taste until I got the sauce right. I ended up adding a tablespoon of sugar and a little more basil and oregano. I simmered the sauce while the pasta cooked and the Texas Toast heated in the oven.
I sprinkled a little grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese over the penne and sauce and the result was yummy!
What are some of your favorite variations on plain old spaghetti? Feel free to sound off.