When thinking of dried foods the thought of a gourmet meal may not come to mind. However, a using a small amount of sun-dried tomatoes adds a burst of flavor to many recipes. Throughout history tomatoes have been featured heavily in Mediterranean cuisine, especially in Greek and Italian cooking where they are the base to a large percentage of traditional savory dishes. Aside from being a delicious fruit eaten on its own its very versatile with almost every other vegetable available to man, and sun-dried tomatoes are high in lycopene, antioxidants, and potassium, and vitamins A and C. They’re also low in sodium and calories, and free of saturated fat and cholesterol. Sun-dried tomatoes are lipophilic, which means that cooking them with some fat, like olive oil, actually increases their nutritional value.
These dried, concentrated vessels of flavor have enjoyed a popularity boost in the United States in the past couple of decades, initially as a gourmet item but fast becoming a favorite of home cooks being added to everything, salads, soups, dips and dehydrated goodies.
Let Them Take A Leading Role In Your Next Dish
2 lb Italian sausage
1 package 3-4 oz sun-dried tomatoes
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, finely minced
2 tablespoon fresh basil
1 cup half and half
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated asiago cheese
12 oz penne pasta
3/4-1 cup reserved cooked pasta water
1-2 tsp red pepper flakes, to taste.
2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
salt, to taste
Julienne slice sun-dried tomatoes and mince garlic; set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil, add salt and cook pasta according to instructions. Before draining pasta reserve some of the pasta water.
Using a large deep pan or skillet over high heat add oil
and then saute garlic and sun-dried tomatoes in 2 oil for a couple of minutes or until garlic is lightly browned. Remove from skillet and set aside.
Add Italian sausage
cook until browned
drain excess grease and add sun-dried tomatoes and garlic back to skillet.
Add half and half
and each of cheeses to the skillet and cook over medium high heat until the cheeses start to melt and begins to bubble.
Reduce to simmer and cook, constantly stirring, until a creamy sauce forms.
Add cooked pasta to the skillet and stir to combine.
Now start to add about 1/2 cup of the pasta water you reserved as by now he sauce has thickened, add more pasta water till you reach the desired thickness.
Add crushed red pepper flakes and season to taste with salt and pepper.