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Penne with Sausage, Tomato, and Romano

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Penne Pasta

Even though I’ve shoveled our front walk and patio three times in the past 48 hours, I know that spring is just around the corner.  It’s gotta be, right?  Only four short days ago the snow was all but gone, my girlies and their friends were riding bikes in the cul-de-sac, and picnicking on heart-shaped cupcakes on beach towels in the soggy backyard.  Now this!  And say it ain’t so, John Malan – but there’s more on the way?

Through slushy streets, howling winds, and massive piles of snow, my friend Peg says she can literally smell spring.  Personally, I don’t get that – but she’s a world class gardener, so if she smells spring, then I believe her.

There’s a crew of gals at the Mequon store who have started their own ‘Biggest Loser’ contest.  I’m not sure if this is in honor of spring or not, but I decided to play along with them and share this recipe I found on the Cooking Light website a few days ago.  Thoughts of spring usually translate to thoughts of lighter eating, but with nine inches of snow and counting, I’m still in the mood for a cozy winter meal.

I followed this recipe to the letter – which is rare for me.  Call it ADD, cognitive decline, or just pure rebellion, but most of the time I cannot adhere to recipes as they’re written.  But I wanted to see if a ‘light’ recipe could actually taste good.

This one’s good.  Really good, in fact.  The serving size is generous – 2 cups of the pasta mixture, plus an additional tablespoon of cheese on top.  Along with a green salad and warm wheat bread (sans butter), a hearty (but ‘light’) winter dinner is served!

Source:  cookinglight.com

8 oz. uncooked penne (Creamette Pastas are on sale this week, 2/23/11 – 3/1/11)
8 oz. sweet Italian sausage (Sendik’s own Italian sausage is on sale this week)
Cooking spray
1 c. julienned onion (Super Sweet onions are on sale this week)
1  14 1/2 oz. can petite diced tomatoes, drained (Red Gold tomatoes are on sale this week)
6 T. grated fresh Romano cheese, divided
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. black pepper
1/4 c. torn fresh basil leaves

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and oil; drain.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add sausage and onion to pan; cook 4 minutes, stirring to crumble sausage.  Add garlic; cook 2 minutes.  Stir in tomatoes; cook 2 minutes.  Remove from heat; stir in pasta, 2 tablespoons cheese, salt, and pepper.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese and basil.


Leah Damron is an avid home cook who believes in using the freshest ingredients available, and she challenges herself weekly to create meals out of (mostly!) sale items. If Sendik's ever gave a title for "Biggest Fan", she believes she would win, hands down. Leah lives in greater Milwaukee with her husband, three children, and her big black lab, Daisy."

  • Anonymous

    Are you referring to the weather man on Channel 4? His name is John Malan, not Mulan…. Please be more careful with people’s names.

  • Anonymous

    Are you referring to the weatherman on Channel 4? His name is John Malan, not Mulan…Please be more careful when using people’s names.

  • Anonymous

    I certainly apologize and will gladly fix it shortly. :-). And thanks for the comment!

  • Anonymous

    It’s all fixed, mamasloan. Thanks again for bringing it to my attention. Good to know someone is out there paying attention and keeping me on my toes. Have a great day!

  • Anonymous

    Do you have the nutritional information for this recipe? It looks delicious!

  • Anonymous

    Made it tonight – my boys liked it! Easy and delicious.

  • Anonymous

    I do!! I will find it for you when my twerps are done with their homework. Actually, it might be tomorrow. But I’ll get it to you! :-)

  • Anonymous

    Here are the nutritionals, according to Cooking Light (2 cups pasta mixture, 1 tablespoon cheese, 1 tablespoon basil per serving):
    CALORIES 389; FAT 10.7g (sat 4g, mono 4.5g, poly 0.7g); CHOLESTEROL 27mg; CALCIUM 159mg; CARBOHYDRATE 53.5g; SODIUM 595mg; PROTEIN 21.6g; FIBER 4.5g; IRON 3.3mg.

  • Anonymous

    I actually made this from the cooking light website before you posted it. It IS delicious! I, too, have to mess with recipes all the time, so I did add a bit of chopped garlic to this one. It doesn’t add any calories!

  • Anonymous

    Mulan, Malan, Schmalan – Good Grief ! Can we just lighten up for one brief moment? Leah, I really enjoy reading your narratives – they are very informative, and light-hearted, and controversy-free, which we all, obviously, need a lot more of. Thank you for providing a few seconds of respite. Please continue with your entertaining words of wisdom.

  • Anonymous

    Awe, thanks for the kind words, cousteau24. I did deserve to be corrected so I certainly harbor no hard feelings.

    I blame my inadvertent misspelling of Mr. Malan’s last name on extreme over-exposure to Disney princesses throughout the past 13 years of being the mother of two girlie-girls. :-)

  • Anonymous

    I thought this was extremely good. I doubled the recipe but used only 3/4 lb sausage from Sendiks, and drained it because it was extremely fatty, but great flavor. I used a thin penne that I like better than the fat. Didn’t have fresh basil so I added some homemade (frozen) pesto. I ate this 4 nights in a row because it just was convenient to do, and have another serving in the freezer. Each serving was 1 cup cooked pasta and 1 cup sauce. That and a large salad was a very satisfying meal. K Golden Fox Point

  • Anonymous

    I thought it made great leftovers too. Great call on adding pesto, that sounds yummy. Thanks for the comment!:-)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ATHFNZWZQFK3IZIR4QDOLQGC74 Tracey

    I see garlic in the instructions, but it is not listed as a ingredient. Please provide the details. . .It sounds delish!!

  • Anonymous

    I would add a clove of minced garlic, or some garlic powder (few
    shakes) depending on how much you like garlic. Can always add more,
    so start small. kg

  • Anonymous

    Absolutely delicious! Even my fussy husband gave it a thumbs up! Many thanks!

  • Anonymous

    Hi Tracey – Sorry about that and thanks for pointing it out. It calls for 2 teaspoons, but I never measure garlic. I would just toss in two cloves, minced – or to taste – you really can’t mess it up. :-)

  • travis henson

    come on. Like you are perfect. get outta here. You should thank the writer for putting it up instead of point out someones miss spelling. Your kind are so lame. srsly.

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