Sunday, April 15, 2012

Taste the Sun

It's amazing how our senses can invoke memories. The smell of an apple pie candle brings me to Thanksgiving Eve growing up, and my parents baking apple and pumpkin pies. A song can bring me right back to middle school. And a taste can bring on a flood of memories as well.

I love the Food Network, and once I felt more comfortable in the kitchen "Everyday Italian" immediately became one of my favorites. I was interested to learn about Italian cuisine from other regions. And when I saw Giada make this recipe I knew I wanted to give it a try. It's flavors were right up my alley.

And every time I taste this dish, I'm immediately brought back to the first time I made it. It was a warm April day in 2006, and my husband had actually beat me home from work. He was in shorts and a t-shirt waiting for me, and as he greeted me he suggested we go for a walk and explore our neighborhood a bit.

We had a wonderful afternoon, enjoying the weather, the scenery, and each other's company. When we got home, my husband and I made this recipe together. My husband chopped the ingredients while I manned the stove. And as the sun started to dip we each sat down to a bowl of this delightful pasta dish. I could taste the warmth and sun, and every time I've had this dish since I am brought back to that day, tasting the warmth and the sun.

It's amazing what food can do.

Fusili with Sausage & Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Recipe from Giada DeLaurentiis
Modified by Country Cooking


  • 3/4 cup drained, oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons oil from jar of sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 pound sausage, casings removed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 pound fusili pasta
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese, for serving


  1. Heat oil reserved from tomatoes in a pan over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook until brown, breaking up meat into bite-sized pieces with potato masher, about 8 minutes. Transfer meat to a bowl. Add garlic to skillet and sauté. Add broth, wine, and sun-dried tomatoes. Boil over medium heat until sauce reduces slightly; about 8 minutes.
  2. Bring pot of water to a boil. Cook fusili until tender but firm, about 8 minutes. Drain pasta and add to sausage mixture. Add basil.
  3. Top each serving with Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses.

Notes from the Chef:

  • I use either sweet Italian sausage or hot turkey sausage when I made this dish. I find the hot turkey sausage to not be as spicy as hot Italian sausage. But you can use whatever sausage you like. What that spicy flavor but don't have any hot sausage on hand? Simply add red pepper flakes to the pan as you cook your sausage. The heat from the flakes will infuse with the sausage and oil.
  • When you've used all the sun-dried tomatoes, save the oil. It's nice to swap out every now and then for regular olive oil. It adds a new depth of flavor to your dish.

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