Free-for-All Friday: Lemon Pasta with Sausage, Roasted Red Pepper and Arugula

Disclaimer: This recipe you’re about to salivate over was made with all Trader Joe’s products. Don’t let that deter you. You are better than that. Adapt.

Kate and I like to cook together (we embarked on that Cheez-It adventure together, remember?). We decided to make a home-cooked meal last weekend for our burly men to show our love and gratitude for them…

Now that you’ve got all your giggles out…

Kate and I also like to try new stuff together and become obsessed with things. Enter Trader Joe’s.

We went shopping together at the specialty shopping center that’s found only in California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey.

They’re known for their awesome selection of specialty cheeses, health snacks and pastas. Trader Joe’s rocks. Oh, and they’re somehow super cheap? Don’t know how they do it but you won’t find me questioning it!

We picked up some lemon pepper pasta, roasted red bell peppers, feta cheese, arugula and chicken sausage. I’ll give some variations and suggestions after the recipe to help you make it your own.

Some added sauteed garlic deepens the flavor of this dish and a simple olive oil sauce keeps it light. You don’t need any pepper at all (the lemon-pepper pasta has a zing to it and the spicy sausage keeps things flavorful), but a generous sprinkling of some Himalayan salt at the end really rounds out the dish.

Lemon Pasta with Sausage, Roasted Red Pepper and Arugula (serves four)

  • 1/2 pound of lemon pepper pappardelle
  • 4 Spicy Italian chicken sausages
  • 1 jar (or two whole) roasted red peppers, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 4 Tbsp. feta, crumbled
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 2 Tbsp. EVOO, plus more for drizzling

Toss it Together

  1. Get a bot of water to a boil and start cooking the pasta according to package directions.
  2. In a hot, dry pan, break up the sausage (remove the casing and crumble it) and cook until lightly browned, about 8 minutes.
  3. Remove the sausage and set aside.
  4. Add the 2 Tbsp. of EVOO and the garlic to the hot pan and cook over low-medium heat until garlic is lightly browned.
  5. Add the chopped roasted red peppers and stir to combine. Cook for about 3 minutes. (you can prolong this step if your pasta water hasn’t boiled yet. Just turn the heat down to low and occasionally stir to keep the garlic from burning.)
  6. Add the chicken sausage and stir. Reheat that for about 3 minutes.
  7. Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the sausage. Add the cheese and stir to slightly melt the cheese, about 1 minute.
  8. Add the arugula and toss in the hot pan until slightly wilted.
  9. Turn off the heat and divide your pasta up into four bowls, sprinkling with some pink salt. Serve with crusty bread or a butter lettuce and raddichio salad!

Tips, Tricks and Variations

  • If you’re making your own pasta, add lemon juice and zest to your pasta, plus lots of black peper.
  • If you can’t find lemon pasta, use plain or whole wheat and finish off your dish with a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice and cracked pepper!
  • Don’t like chicken sausage? Use spicy turkey sausage (my personal fave) or regular pork sausage. This dish doesn’t discriminate against any bird.
  • Use goat cheese for a creamier “sauce.”
  • Use spinach instead of arugula.
  • We used just 8-oz of pasta and fared just fine. You can use a pound of pasta, but then the pasta to sausage ratio is a little higher, and I’d rather have more goodies in my pasta than actual pasta. To each his own!
  • If you find the pasta too dry when you’ve tossed it with everything, drizzle a thin line of EVOO over it and toss again.

*Note: these pictures were taken of a single-serving of it. Don’t be fooled by how little it looks on the pan above. It makes A LOT.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

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About Melissa

I am a 26-year-old journalist who loves food and blogging about it.

Posted on March 9, 2012, in Chicken, Pasta Dishes, Recipes, Tips and Tricks and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. This looks so good! I’m disappointed I JUST went to the store and don’t have the supplies on hand. Where were you at about 11:50 pm last night when I was making my shopping list! Drats! I guess good things are worth the wait!

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