Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Toasting Pasta

Good evening everyone!  As I checking my plethora of cooking magazines, I came across a recipe that called from 'toasting pasta' before cooking it.  My curiosity struck and I was intrigued.  The more I looked into it, it was actually a simple idea for providing delicious results.  Tonight, I attempt this brave, new concept with a great, creamy end.

The Recipe:  Skillet-Toasted Penne with Chicken Sausage
Original Recipe Found In:  Cooking Light magazine, January 2014

What You'll Need:
6 Cups unsalted Chicken Stock
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
8 Ounces uncooked Penne pasta
1 Cup sliced Sweet Onion
13 Ounces Italian Chicken Sausage, casings removed
2 Tablespoons fresh Lemon Juice
1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
2 Tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese

To start, pour the entire amount of chicken stock in a large saucepan.  Bring the stock to a simmer, but do not boil.  Keep the stock warm over low heat as you continue with the recipe.

In a large skillet, heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.  Once the pan is heated, swirl the oil to coat and add the pasta.  Cook the pasta for five minutes, or until all sides of the pasta are a golden brown color.  Be sure to stir the pasta frequently, as to evenly cook it.  Once cooked, remove the pasta from the pan in a bowl and set aside.

Next, add the remaining tablespoon of oil and add the onion and sausage.  Cook until the onion begins to soften and the sausage browns, about four to five minutes.  Once cooked, remove the sausage mixture from the pan into another bowl and set aside.  Reduce the heat to medium-low heat and return the pasta to the pan.  Add one cup of the stock to the pasta and stir constantly or until each portion of stock has nearly absorbed.  Continuing adding one cup of stock until the liquid is gone from the saucepan; this will take about 35 minutes, while stirring frequently.  Add the sausage mixture, lemon juice, salt, and cheese.  Stir until all the ingredients are heated through, spoon into a serving bowl, serve, and enjoy!

The End Result:

I've never heard of the 'toasting pasta' concept before tonight, but it is one to definitely remember!  The pasta becomes sort of nutty and is almost creamy, without any cream sauce whatsoever.  Cooking the pasta like a risotto really brings out those flavors that are cooked out with boiling water and draining.  While it would be easier to do so, I would highly recommend you don't, because you won't know what you'll miss!  The sausage and onions add a nice bite of heat and crunch that won't overwhelm your pallet too much.  With the bit of cheese I added, it helped round out the flavors of the truly unique pasta dish.

That's all we have for you this evening.  Join us on Thursday as Tyler presents a new dish.  Until then,


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