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 quite 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 whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 pound Italian turkey sausage, cut into 1/2-inch slices*
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 3/4 pound rotini pasta (corkscrew pasta)
- 3 ounces smoked Mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
*If you put the turkey sausage in the freezer first for a half hour, it will be easier to slice.
1 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 the tomatoes to the pan, shredding 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 high for 20 minutes, until the sauce is thickened.
3 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 Stir in the cubed smoked mozzarella cheese. Continue to stir until the cheese has softened and is a bit melty. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.