Little bit of spice

I used to hate spicy food.  But somewhere along the way I grew to not only like it but love it.  I ate quite a bit while living in China so that may have helped.  I’m not going to go and burn all my taste buds and mouth off for something spice though.  I want to actually enjoy my food and all the other flavors that are incorporated into the dish – whatever it may be.

I really enjoy cooking with red pepper flakes and Thai Chili’s (see my sweet and spicy chicken recipe!). While in Italy I brought home some red pepper flakes from the Campo de’ Fiori in Rome along with a few other herbs to bring home and try.  I didn’t think much of the flakes but, these were super flavorful!!  Probably the best I have ever had or bought anywhere else.  Don’t ask me why these were so much better, but they were…maybe it was just because I bought them in Rome. Those little flakes packed a ton of flavor! That market was amazing, if you are ever in Rome I highly suggest going there and checking it out.  There was a man there hand slicing procuitto!! And the olives…oh they were to die for.

One night when Bryan was here visiting I decided to be a nice girlfriend and make him stuffed peppers (being nice because I don’t eat peppers) and having never made them before I had no clue what I was doing…oh it was a mess!! We used some hot Italian sausage and added some red pepper flakes…a bit too many because neither of us could breath, had to open the window and everything.  Amazingly, he ate them and didn’t complain.  Probably one of the worse meals I ever made!!

With one failed hot Italian sausage recipe down, we figured we would give another one a try.  So a few nights later I used a jar of Trader Joe’s Arrabiate Sauce (has a slight spice to it and is really good), four links of Trader Joe’s hot Italian sausage and a bag of Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Pasta.  This meal came out so much better.  If I had the time would have made my own sauce but it was a weeknight and we wanted dinner to be quick and easy. I made this meal again last night but added chopped zucchini to the mix-yummm.  You can add in any other veggies you may like – onions, mushrooms etc.  The sauce is great because it has a little bit of spice already and plenty of garlic.

Red Sauce with Hot Italian Sausage

1 jar of Trader Joe’s Arrabiate Sauce (or any sauce is fine)

4 links of Trader Joe’s Hot Italian Sausage

2 medium zucchini

1 bag of Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Pasta

Cut the zucchini in small-medium cubes.  Remove casings from sausages and either cut or tear apart the sausage into chunks.  In a medium skillet brown sausage over medium heat until almost cooked through out.  Add zucchini and cook for an additional two minutes.  Add the jar of sauce and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

In a large sauce pan bring water to a boil. Add a 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of olive oil.  Add pasta and cook per directions on the bag (usually 9-12 minutes).  Strain pasta, reserving 1/3 cup of pasta water to be added to the sauce.  Return the pasta to the pot, add a few drizzles of olive oil to keep the pasta from sticking together and about a ladle of sauce.  Serve the pasta with sauce and enjoy.

I was on hot sausage kick this week!  Victoria (one of my current roommates) was craving pizza really badly and the only place around here for me to get any form of it is Whole Foods – 4.99 for tiny little pizza from Glutino one hot sausage link and about 15 minutes later (that pizza takes more than than it says of the package!) I had one tasty little meal.  I’ve never had one of their pizzas before and it was good…not my favorite but still good.

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