Pasta with Turkey Sausage and Smoked Mozzarella
Have you ever tried smoked mozzarella cheese? It’s sort of like a mozzarella version of gouda. I had never encountered it until my father used it in a recipe he got from a local butcher shop.
This is the recipe, with lots of changes from the original which called for three times as much cheese. We found with this cheese that, unlike regular mozzarella which is quite mild in flavor, a little smoked mozzarella goes a long way.
We’ve made this several times; it now makes a regular appearance in my parent’s home because it’s quick, filling, and tasty. It also makes terrific leftovers.
Turkey sausage is rather lean. If you use regular pork sausage, cook it up first, then discard the rendered fat and use the residual fat in the pan to cook the onions and garlic.
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 14-ounce cans crushed tomatoes or whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 pound Italian turkey sausage, bulk or cut into 1/2-inch slices*
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 3/4 pound fusilli pasta
- 3 ounces smoked Mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
*If you put the sausage in the freezer first for a half hour, it will be easier to slice.
1 Sauté onions and garlic: Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a minute more.
2 Add tomatoes and sausage: Add the tomatoes to the pan (if using canned whole tomatoes shred them with your fingers as you add them to the pan). Include the juices.
Add the sausage and red pepper flakes. Cover and cook on medium low heat for 20 minutes, until the sauce is thickened.
3 Cook the pasta: While the sauce is cooking, cook the pasta. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a teaspoon and a half of salt for every quart of water.
Cook the pasta according to pasta package instructions, until al dente, or cooked through, but still a bit firm. Drain the water from the pasta.
Combine the pasta and the sauce in a large serving bowl.
4 Add smoked mozzarella and Parmesan: Stir in the cubed smoked mozzarella cheese. Continue to stir until the cheese has softened and is a bit melty. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.