Comfort food, especially in the cold winter months, often comes in the form of casseroles and other warm saucy dishes. Sure, a salad is healthy, but it just doesn’t warm you from the inside out like a dish of food that’s all hot and bubbly.
We need the comfort of hot dishes at our house from time to time too. I was starting to notice though that all my tried and true casserole recipes used some kind of “cream of something” soup. We still love these recipes and I’m not opposed to using a can of cream of mushroom soup every now and then, but I wanted to start branching out. I’ve learned that all those spices in my cupboard can do great things to perk up a recipe in ways you just don’t get from a can of soup.
Today’s recipe that I’ve named Sausage Penne Alfredo is a fairly recent addition to my recipe box, but is now on the regular rotation at our house. It’s a homemade comfort food that leaves out the can of soup and instead uses heavy cream flavored with Italian seasoning. It’s a fairly quick recipe too. It’s hot and ready in a skillet in about 20 minutes with no half an hour of baking required as in many casserole recipes.
I always use my homemade Italian seasoning blend for this recipe too. It’s a simple mixture of oregano, basil, rosemary, sage, thyme, and majoram. (Here’s the link to that recipe: Make Your Own Italian Seasoning) or there’s a link in the ingredient list below too.
One of the things I love about homemade spice blends is that you can make them in as small or as large of a quantity as needed. When I first started making this Italian seasoning blend, I was just making small sized batches but now I often double or triple my original ingredient measurements. I keep it in a little re-purposed glass jar and most of the time do nothing fancier than labeling it on the top with a post-it note that I’ve cut down to size.
I also prefer the Penne tube shaped pasta for this recipe, but I’m sure other types of pasta could work just as well. I buy my penne pasta in a 16 oz bag and then just eyeball it to use about half the bag for this recipe.
BUT, this means that I’m always left with a half of a bag of pasta. So . . . this recipe always shows up again at our house a couple weeks later. I always want to use up the rest of the bag before I forget it’s there!
Here’s how to do it:
Sausage Penne Alfredo
- 1 Pkg Sausage (I use a 13 oz pkg of Hillshire Farm Turkey Sausage)
- 8 oz of Penne Pasta
- 2 cups Heavy Cream (16 ozs)
- 2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning (I use my homemade blend)
- 1/2 cup Grated Parmesan
Start by getting the pasta cooking according to the package directions.
In the meantime, slice the sausage. Saute the sliced sausage in a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet (about 5 minutes). Then add the heavy cream and the Italian seasoning to the skillet and stir to combine. Continue to stir as you bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and stir in the parmesan. The mixture will be starting to get a little thicker at this point.
Drain the cooked pasta and add to the skillet. Stir to combine.
Cover and let simmer for about 5 more minutes on low heat to let the mixture thicken a little more and to let the flavors blend.
Serve and enjoy.