Perfect Pasta Dinners: Pasta with Red Grapes & Sausage

A few months back I was flipping through a magazine, trying to keep up with the latest fashion/beauty/health trends, when I came across some good-looking pasta recipes. I usually steer clear of recipes found in trend magazines, but a couple of them looked interesting enough to try out. As you might have guessed, one of the recipes I found was for the Pasta with Red Grapes and Sausage, or as Greg likes to call it, “Grapeful Pasta.” I had never had pasta that used grapes in the sauce, and it is incredible how flavorful the grapes make the dish. They burst and explode. and then the pasta is coated in their juices. The red grapes make a savory sweet sauce that pairs well with all of the other ingredients – a yummy combination of sweet, spicy, and salty.

Not only does this meal taste good, it also provides some nice health benefits. Red grapes are high in antioxidants that fight inflammation – nobody likes inflammation. I have made this dish many times, and I never get sick of eating it for dinner. This meal also saves really well for leftovers. I’m “grapeful” that I found this recipe while going through that magazine!

Pasta with Red Grapes and Sausage ($$)

3 Aidells Chicken Sausage Links, cut in to 1-inch slices
2 tbsp. of extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 small red onion, cut in to very small and thin pieces
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp. plus 1/4 tsp. of kosher salt, divided
2 cups of seedless red grapes
1 cup of chicken broth
1/4 – 1/2 tsp. of red pepper flakes
12-ounces of whole grain penne pasta
3 tbsp. of grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or 2 tbsp. of dried parsley
Freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS: Put 1 tbsp. of olive oil in a very large saucepan set over medium heat. Add the sausage to the pan and cook, stirring frequently until sausage is browned (about 10 minutes). Once sausage is done cooking, remove it from the pan using a slotted spoon and put it on to a plate. Set aside. Add another 1 tbsp. of oil to the saucepan and return the heat to medium. Add the onions and the garlic to the pan with 1/4 tsp. of kosher salt and stir until the onions are soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add in the red grapes, broth, and red pepper flakes. Increase the heat to medium-high. Stir the mixture and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the grapes burst and the sauce thickens. While the grapes are cooking, bring a large pot of water to boil. Once grapes have burst and have cooked for at least 10 minutes, return the sausage to the saucepan with the grapes and stir. Turn off the stovetop.

When the water boils, add the 1 tbsp. of kosher salt to the pot. Add in the pasta and cook as directed on pasta package. When pasta is done, drain the pasta well and then add it to the saucepan. Turn the heat to high. Cook until the sausage is hot and the pasta is coated with the sauce, about one minute. Remove from heat and divide amongst serving dishes. Top each serving with parsley, Parmesan, and freshly ground pepper. Enjoy!

Adapted from: Self Magazine

When I first started to cook I would follow recipes and sometimes come across terms that I was not familiar with. One of the terms that stumped me a bit was the word “divided” when seen on an ingredients list. I thought it would be appropriate to explain “divided” in this post since I used it twice in the pasta ingredients list. When you see the word “divided,” it simply means that the recipe will use the ingredient in more than just one step. In the pasta recipe, the word “divided” is used with the olive oil and kosher salt. Example: “1 tbsp. plus 1/4 tsp. of kosher salt, divided” 1 tbsp. of the kosher salt is used in the pot of boiling water, and the other 1/4 tsp. is used in the saucepan with the onion and garlic. Example: “2 tbsp. of extra-virgin olive oil, divided” 1 tbsp. of the olive oil is used in the saucepan to cook the sausage, and the other 1 tbsp. is used to cook the garlic and onion. So, don’t fret when you see the word “divided” in a recipe, it doesn’t mean that you will have to solve any math problems! Just remember not to use the divided ingredient all at once – it’s simple division.