Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Weeknight Pasta with Artichokes, Olives, and Sausage

Weeknight Pasta with Artichokes, Olives, and Sausage: Loves Food, Loves to Eat
On Friday, along with a bunch of total wackos, I'm going to get in a van, drive up to the Canadian border, and spend the next 24 hours and 200-ish miles competing in a relay race back toward Seattle. It's Ragnar time! This is my 5th year running in the Ragnar Relay! Team Chafin' the Dream, represent! 

Weeknight Pasta with Artichokes, Olives, and Sausage: Loves Food, Loves to Eat
If you don't know what Ragnar is, you're missing out. Or maybe you're just sane. Teams of 12 people tag team running for 24 hours straight, relay-style. So, one runner hits the road at a time, and the rest of the team hops along in the vans. Each runner runs three times, with each leg ranging between 3-8 miles. Total distance per person is anywhere from 12 miles to 20 miles. I'm somewhere in the middle. The low middle. 

Weeknight Pasta with Artichokes, Olives, and Sausage: Loves Food, Loves to Eat
Leading up to the race is always a bit crazy, as I'm trying to pull my running clothes together, pack healthy snacks, get in a few last workouts, create some crazy costumes, and of course, carb UP! Ok, that last part is a bit of a joke, because I mean, c'mon…carb might as well be my middle name. I carb up to prep for carbing up. 

Weeknight Pasta with Artichokes, Olives, and Sausage: Loves Food, Loves to Eat
With all this running around, I've been a little stressed out about getting a blog post up here. Sometimes I get caught up in wild, fancy recipes, trying to think up something you've never seen before. So I forget that simple, easy, every day recipes can be pretty damn good. Like this one. Not only does it help me hit the ol' carb quota, but it's perfect for a busy weeknight (and tastes pretty great, too). It's also perfect for last minute dinners with friends, because it makes a big pot of pasta and comes together like that. Oh...picturing me snapping my fingers when I say "like that." 

Weeknight Pasta with Artichokes, Olives, and Sausage: Loves Food, Loves to Eat
My friend Bree threw this combo together one night, and I was blown away by the simplicity and awesomeness of it. Oh yeah...people like every day recipes, too! You can add pretty much whatever you want, but I start with a box of whole wheat pasta, a big can of San Marzano crushed tomatoes, a can of artichoke hearts and black olives, an onion, a bell pepper, and some pre-cooked sausage (I used smoked garlic chicken sausages here...sorry if they look a little...pale and weird). If you wanna spice it up, add garlic and basil, and maybe some red pepper flakes. And definitely top it with parmesan. 

Weeknight Pasta with Artichokes, Olives, and Sausage: Loves Food, Loves to Eat
Eat this, and wish me luck this weekend! 

Weeknight Pasta with Artichokes, Olives, and Sausage: Loves Food, Loves to Eat
Weeknight Pasta with Artichokes, Olives, and Sausage
Serves 4-6

1 box whole wheat penne pasta (about 13 ounces)
Olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 package pre-cooked sausage (about 4 links), sliced
1 bell pepper, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, diced
Handful of basil, slivered
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (I like San Marzano) 
1 normal-size can artichoke hearts, drained
1 normal-size can large black olives, drainedOlive oil
Salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese, grated 

Cook pasta according to package instructions. 

Meanwhile, heat a swig of olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté until starting to brown. Add sausage, and cook for a couple of minutes, add pepper, garlic, and basil, and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. 

Drain pasta, reserving about a half cup of pasta water. Add pasta and reserved water to pot with veggies, and stir in tomatoes, olives, and artichoke hearts. Serve with grated parmesan. 

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