Monday, March 19, 2012

Spicy Italian Alfredo

18 ounces hot italian sausage (you can use bulk or links, but remove casings from links), chopped  
       into small bite size pieces
1 1/2 bell peppers (I used 1/2 each of a green, orange, and red), chopped into small pieces
1/2 large mild onion, diced
3 cups frozen cut leaf spinach, or 4 cups fresh spinach, washed and torn into small pieces
1 lb. mushrooms, sliced (we did not use, but agree it would have been amazing)
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 quart (approx 4 cups) heavy cream
1 1/2 cups shaved or shredded Parmesan
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. chipotle seasoning blend, you can adjust to suit your family's heat preference
1 tbsp olive oil
1 pound pasta, cooked (we used rigatoni, but you can use what you prefer, and we like whole wheat)

Over medium high heat, warm olive for one minute, then add sausage, peppers, garlic, onion, and mushrooms. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sausage is cooked and vegetables are softened to your liking (we let them cook until onion begins to caramelize).  Add spinach and cook for 5-10 minutes more, until desired tenderness is reached.

You can prepare the alfredo sauce at same time as sausage and vegetables, or wait until they are done. For the alfredo sauce, pour cream, butter, Parmesan, and chipotle seasoning blend into sauce pan over med low to medium heat. Stir often to prevent scorching for 15 minutes. Sauce will thicken as it cools.

Serve hot pasta in bowls. Top with alfredo sauce and sausage-vegetable mixture. Enjoy!!! Makes 5 hearty servings.

You may have pasta and alfredo sauce left over! For the pasta, you could have a baked pasta the next day.

Baked Pasta:
Put pasta in bowl, mix in italian sausage (cooked), diced ham, or pepperoni. Add green bell peppers, black olives, sauteed onions, mushrooms, or other veggies. Mix with pasta sauce, place in baking dish, top with mozzarella and bake on 375 until cheese is melted and bubbly.

What to do with leftover alfredo sauce:
1. Have alfredo again
2. Dip bread sticks in it
3. Cook some plain macaroni, add alfredo sauce and a handful of whatever cheese you have on hand for a creamy mac and cheese
4. Use it to replace pizza sauce on homemade pizzas. Alfredo pizzas are good
5. Cook my version of Olive Garden's Steak Gorgonzola Alfredo! I will try to post pictures and recipe within the next few weeks
6. Add some diced chilies and melt with some mexican cheese for a rich queso dip to serve with tortilla chips

Hope you enjoy!

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