Pasta is pretty much a staple in our house because it is one of the few meals on which my entire family can agree. My family prefers the heavier sauces like the my vodka sauce recipe, but I like things on the lighter side.
And like with my sage, bacon and butternut squash pasta recipe, they often let me get away with lighter pastas that actually have (GASP!) chunks of vegetables providing the flavor instead of a heavy sauce!
This is very light sauce, but has tons of flavor! It's one of my favorite ways to eat pasta, especially in the summer months when a thicker sauce is too heavy. As light and healthy as this is, it still has that comfort food feeling that you want from a pasta dish.
All brands of diced tomatoes will have a different amount of juice, so you may need to add some additional liquid if yours doesn't have enough. I'd go with chicken broth, white wine or a little more tomato juice if you find that you need some more liquid (or you can use some of the pasta cooking water)
I have made this with both “regular” Italian sausage and with chicken sausage, and I definitely like it with the chicken sausage better. One of the things I love about using chicken sausage is that it's light and healthy, but also savory and satisfying at the same time. It keeps the fat and calories down in this dish without sacrificing flavor. That said, feel free to use regular Italian sausage if that's all you have.
There are so many different varieties of chicken sausage out there, so play with your favorites because they will really change the flavor of the dish. If the kids aren't eating with us for some reason, I will use jalapeno chicken sausage. When they are around, I tend to use a milder one. This was even delicious when I used an apple & walnut chicken sausage!
Adding a touch of butter to a fresh tomato sauce is a classic Italian technique. Don't skip it. It gives the sauce a richness that puts it over the top
Scroll down for the recipe!
- 12 ounces pasta
- 15.5 ounces diced tomatoes (with juice) - I like using fire-roasted tomatoes
- 2 links fresh chicken Italian sausage
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ - ½ cup Parmesan cheese
- Fresh basil leaves, optional
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package, drain and set aside. Before you drain it, reserve about a cup of the cooking water and set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat.
- Add the sausage and cook for about two minutes per side or until lightly browned.
- Add the onion and cook for an additional three to four minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook for one minute or until fragrant.
- Add the diced tomatoes bring to a simmer.
- Turn the heat down to medium low, cover and cook for ten minutes. You don't want the liquid to evaporate, so be sure to cover it.
- Turn the heat down to low and add the butter. Stir to combine.
- Add the pasta and toss until thoroughly coated, adding the Parmesan cheese a little at a time. Add some of the reserved pasta water if needed.
- Taste adjust the salt and pepper to your liking before serving.
- Serve with additional Parmesan cheese and fresh basil on top, if desired.