Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sausage and Bean Ragu on Quinoa Macaroni

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) pasta is made from a combination of the quinoa grain and corn, hence the yellow color of the pasta. You can find it with the gluten-free and other "alternative" pastas at most grocery stores.

I bought the turkey Italian sausage at Market of Choice, who got the meat from Shelton's, but I believe Market of Choice makes their sausages in-house. Don't quote me on that though. Anyway, they were good!

After making this recipe, I'm pretty sure there is a misprint in the amount of pasta called for. I checked online, and lots of other people think the same thing. My magazine cut-out called for 16 ounces of pasta, which was two boxes. It seemed like a lot, but who am I to question Cooking Light? So I cooked all the pasta and set it aside while I made the rest of the meal, and then at the end you are supposed to add the pasta back to the skillet and stir it all together. Heh. That was not going to happen. I ended up tossing it together in a super huge bowl and the pasta soaked up every bit of sauce there was left (it ended up simmering longer than it was supposed to because I was running around the house trying to find my camera to take the picture!). Therefore, my end result was a big bowl of mostly pasta and not much ragu to speak of whatsoever. It was still really tasty, but I can't wait to make it again with the right amount of pasta and see what that's like. For your benefit, I will write up the recipe with half the amount of pasta, as it should be.

Sausage and Bean Ragu on Quinoa Macaroni
adapted from Cooking Light - March 2006 Issue
Serves 8

Notes: If you can't find quinoa macaroni, use whole wheat macaroni. I couldn't find bulk turkey Italian sausage, so I bought links, removed the casings, and broke them into pieces as I added them to the pan.

1 (8-ounce) package quinoa macaroni
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion (about 1 medium)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound turkey Italian sausage, bulk or links (remove from casings if links)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 (16-ounce) cans cannellini beans or other white beans, drained and rinsed
2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shaved Romano cheese (I just used Parmesan)

Cook the pasta according to package directions, but leave out the salt and oil.

In a large nonstick skillet, add the oil and heat to medium-high. Add the onion and garlic and saute for about 3 minutes. Then add the sausage and cook until browned, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as you stir. Stir in the wine.  There won't really be much to deglaze, since you are using a non-stick skillet, but scrap the bottom with the wooden spoon anyway, just for kicks. Add the broth, fennel seeds, pepper, beans, and tomatoes.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.  It will still look kind of thin and liquidy, but the pasta will soak a lot of that up.

Add the pasta to the skillet, and toss gently to combine.  Alternatively, if you don't think the pasta will fit in your skillet, you can put the pasta into a large bowl, pour the contents of the skillet over it, and stir to combine.  Sprinkle the cheese over the top, or put a little cheese on top of each individual serving as you dish it up.

Serving size: 1 1/2 cups pasta and 1 tablespoon of cheese.

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