Monday, September 6, 2010

Pasta Salad from the Pantry

I have talked before about the importance of a well-stocked pantry. There are times when time is short and yet you must prepare dinner. Salads are easy and quick, but sometimes the family simply isn't in the mood... It's the end of the summer and we're pretty much all sandwiched out... Pasta is a pretty reliable palate-pleaser in the Entertaining House. I had some hot Italian sausage in the fridge that I needed to use up. But there was not much else... So I took to the pantry and loaded the tins into my arms and ended up making a fabulous, simple and delicious warm pasta salad. Perfect for a coolish night!


1 can black small, pitted black olives -- I used about 3/4 of the can
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 small jar of small green pitted olives -- I used about half the jar
1 small jar of sun dried tomatoes, Julienned -- I used about 8
2 Tbs of the sun dried tomato oil
1 Can of artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
Olive oil, a good dose!
1/4 of an onion, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 package of Italian sausage -- or 4 links -- Chicken sausage is perfect in this as well. (Or cook the entire package and use the remaining half to place on home made pizza another night!)
1 1/2 Tbs Italian seasonings
Sea salt to taste
Crushed red pepper to taste
1 lb of your favorite pasta (I use Barilla)


Cook pasta in large saucepan per directions on the package
In a large saute pan cook sausage in batches. As sausage is cooked set aside on a plate lined with paper towels.
When pasta is done and cooked al dente drain and return to pan. Add a touch of olive oil to keep from sticking together. When the sausage has cooked put desired amount into pasta. The rest can be refrigerated for another day.
In the saute pan add 2 to 3 tbs of olive oil and cook garlic until lightly browned. Gently scrape out garlic and add to the pasta pot. Add onions to the saute pan and cook until translucent. Add the olives, chick peas, artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes, sun dried tomato oil, crushed red pepper, Italian seasonings, and sea salt. Simmer for 5 - 10 minutes to marry the flavors.
When ready add to the pasta pot. Mix well. Serve immediately or as people are ready to eat. This dish is simple but packed with flavor that lends itself to tasting wonderfully whether hot or warm.

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