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Let’s be frank for a second. It’s the middle of winter. It gets dark at like, 4pm. Inflation is out of control, we spent a ton of money during the holidays, and the only thing we’re craving for dinner these days is something easy and affordable. We love a weekend cooking project as much as anyone, but after a long day of work, running errands, staring into a SAD lamp, and maybe even wrangling a kid or two (oh, and did we mention taking the dog for a walk?) we just want food, fast. Luckily, Valerie Bertinelli has just the recipe for those types of night, and it’s one the whole family will like.
Bertinelli’s easy pasta recipe calls for one of our favorite flavor-forward ingredients: Italian sausage. Hot or sweet, ground or in its casings, Italian sausage adds tons of flavor to any recipe without you having to destroy your spice cupboard while looking for that container of garlic powder you could have sworn you bought at the store last weekend.
The sausage is simmered with a can of crushed tomatoes, some water, and a Parmesan rind. Parmesan rind and sausage are also Martha Stewart’s secret ingredients for making her shortcut Italian wedding soup, so you can bank on this being a legit tip.
To the sauce, Bertinelli adds cooked rigatoni and cooked frozen peas. If your family doesn’t care for peas, feel free to swap them for broccoli, spinach, or another vegetable.
She stirs it all together with a cup of grated Parm, which makes the sauce creamy and deeply savory, clinging to every bite of pasta.
It’s not fancy, but it is totally satisfying, quick, and affordable, especially compared to breaking down and ordering take-out. Sometimes it’s just the kind of recipe we need.
Before you go, check out Ina Garten’s easy weeknight dinner recipes below:
Watch: A 5-Ingredient Grilled Pizza That’s Easier Than Ordering Takeout
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