Today’s recipe isn’t so unique as it was a revelation to me. I’ve started using flavored oils and I’m hooked! My P.S. (Personal Shopper/hubby) bought several bottles of flavored olive oil and I thought he was crazy. We always add seasonings to a dish, why bother to have the oil infused? I was so wrong, the oils have made my cooking taste fabulous!
Not that my food wasn’t fabulous to begin with (most of the time!). But using the Tuscan Oil has made a few meals just that much better. I threw together a random bunch of vegetables, sausage and pasta and didn’t want to make a cream or cheese sauce to make it a heavy meal. Drizzling the Tuscan Oil over it brought it all together in a totally pleasing way without milk products and very little cheese!
I started with chopped onions and orange sweet bell peppers, sauteing them until the onions were turning translucent. I stirred in some salt, pepper and garlic powder. I’d pulled out some polish sausage from the freezer and sliced it up. I added that to the skillet next. Polish sausage in a mostly Italian dish? Heck yeah, I’m not picky. It was a mild sausage, it would play well with flavors like basil and oregano.
I let the sausage cook and hopefully get somewhat brown while I clean up some fresh asparagus and chopped it into 1” pieces. I wanted the asparagus to give the dish texture, I was going to just heat it through and maintain most of its crunch.
Sausage browned, I tossed in my asparagus and added about ½ cup of Sweet Tea Vodka. I’ve like to use it at times where I need a little flavored liquid. I use the Firefly brand.
I let the food sauté in the skillet for a couple of minutes more. The asparagus was still a bit crunchy, as I wanted it to be. I stirred in my final vegetable, a couple of handfuls of chopped spinach, and let it wilt for a minute or two in the hot skillet.
The pasta was done, perfect timing. I’d boiled it in salted water until it was al dente, then drained it. I’d used radiatore, for the fun aspect of it. I love the funky shapes and they matched the chunky shapes of my sausage and vegetables well.
I drizzled the Tuscan flavored oil over the pasta and tossed it with the sausage and vegetables. I sprinkled some shredded Parmesan over the dish and dinner was ready.
This dinner quickly became one of those times when we did a lot of moaning and grunting. “Mmmm!” We both so loved the flavors! There was so much going on with the sausage, different vegetables and the luscious oil, not to mention a touch of cheese. Almost every mouthful was a different experience, tied together with the flavored oil. I’m going to need to experiment further!
Tuscan Oil Pasta Bowl
1 medium onion, chopped
1 orange sweet bell pepper, chopped
½ teaspoon garlic (I used powder)
½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1# sausage; sliced (I used a mild polish sausage)
½ lb fresh asparagus; cut into 1” pieces
½ cup Sweet Tea Vodka (I used Firefly brand)
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
1 box radiatore pasta; prepared al dente
½ cup Parmesan; shredded
¼ cup Tuscan flavored oil (or whatever flavored oil you prefer)
Bring pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta to al dente while you prepare the rest of the dish.
In a large skillet saute onions and peppers with a large pinch of salt and ½ teaspoon of garlic powder in a drizzle of olive oil for several minutes, until the onion begins to turn translucent.
Add the sausage and garlic powder and saute several more minutes, letting the sausage brown as much as possible.
Add the asparagus and Sweet Tea Vodka and saute 2-3 minutes until heated. You want to retain most of the crunch of the asparagus. Stir in the spinach until it wilts.
Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of pasta water. Add pasta to skillet along with the water and stir well. Allow pasta to cook until the water is absorbed. Drizzle with ¼ cup Tuscan flavored oil and toss again.
Serve pasta in a bowl sprinkled with shredded Parmesan.