Pasta with Italian sausage, zucchini, onions and marinara sauce

pasta1.jpg
I really like this dish! It's also pretty healthy, fairly diet friendly, satisfying and delicious.

Amounts are for 1 serving; multiply as necessary.

2.0 oz. whole wheat penne pasta
1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion
1 small zucchini
2.5 oz. hot Italian sausage (1 sausage link)
4.7 oz. marinara sauce

The key to this recipe is careful attention to serving sizes. From my previous experiment with one serving of spaghetti, the plate looks a little empty with just pasta and sauce. This recipe fills out the plate with healthy vegetables (zucchini and onion) instead of adding more pasta, ground beef, etc.. It does have Italian sausage in it, but a reasonable serving of 2.5 oz. (cooked weight), so even that is not bad. It's tasty and adds protein but you could certainly leave it out or add something else.

Cook the pasta according to package directions.

Thinly slice the onion.

Cut the zucchini into half rounds, about 1/8" thick.

Cut the Italian sausage into half rounds, about 1/8" thick, as well. When I get Italian sausages I fully cook two packages worth, then freeze them. They freeze well, and it allows me to pull one link out of the freezer and defrost it to make one serving. If using raw sausage, cook it first.

In sauté pan over medium heat, add olive oil and cook the onion until softened. Add the zucchini and cook for a few minutes. Lower the heat if necessary to prevent the onion from burning.

Add the cooked Italian sausage and heat for a few minutes. Lower the heat to medium low and add pasta sauce. I like to add some red pepper flakes at this point for a little extra spice.

I used Bove's basil marinara from a jar, but you can use any jar sauce, or even better yet, homemade. Pasta sauce keeps for quite a while in the refrigerator, but since I usually cook for one and sometimes go for a while without eating it, I divide it into serving sizes, vacuum seal, and freeze a couple servings from each jar. It keeps for months, even a year, that way, and I don't end up throwing away a partial jar of pasta sauce.

pasta2.jpgWhen the pasta is done, drain and add to the pan with the sauce and vegetables and mix thoroughly. Plate.

Served here with a slice of Red Hen ciabatta bread and a glass of DaVinci Chianti, 2007.

Here are the Nutrition Facts from caloriecount.about.com (not including the bread and wine). 616 calories for that big bowl of pasta! Not bad!

pasta3c.jpg