Penne with Creamy Sausage & Tomato Ragu

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON 2/9/2014:
This is an easy but special pasta dish.  It is great for a Saturday night at home or for a special occasion, such as the one that is coming up THIS FRIDAY.  The original recipe calls for the diced tomatoes to remain whole, but I like the sauce a little less chunky, which is why I threw mine in the food processor.  The more basil you add, the better in my opinion.  This was a hit from the baby to my husband, and it will likely become a staple in this house.

The recipe is from TodaysMama.com.


Ingredients:
1 lb. mild Italian Sausage (I use the Godfather from Lowe's Foods SausageWorks)
2 – 3 Tbsp olive oil (I omit this)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 tsp fresh basil, sliced (reserve some to garnish with) or use 2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 cans (15 oz.) diced tomatoes (I pulse in the food processor)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (can omit if your people don't like spice)
1 1/2 C cream
1 lb penne pasta 

Method:
Complete method from TodaysMama.com  is found HERE.

I added my little detail to the cooking instructions...just a few different methods below, but the recipe is all hers!

(1)  Brown the sausage in large skillet. Remove sausage from pan with slotted spoon and set aside.
(2) Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions.
(3) Pulse basil in food processor until chopped; reserve some for garnish.  Add garlic to remaining basil and pulse until chopped.  (You can certainly chop by hand)
(4) Add olive oil to pan that had the sausage in it.  Add garlic, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, salt & pepper. Saute until garlic is soft, about 2 minutes.
(5) Pulse tomatoes in food processor a few times to break tomatoes up. (Or mash with potato masher or fork, or use immersion blender, whatever you have on hand will work!!)
(6) Add tomatoes and cream to garlic/basil mixture.  Stir until it begins to thicken, about 10 minutes.
(7) Drain pasta and return to pot.
(8) Add sausage and tomato sauce to pasta and cook for about 5 minutes longer.
(9) Serve family style in a large bowl or in individual bowls and garnish with Parmesan cheese and reserved fresh basil.

Happy Cooking!

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