Living in Michigan, I try my hardest not to let the weather influence my mood or my decisions. So, what was I thinking when I tried to cancel the first official Pasta and Peonies party due to the pouring rain and dark clouds? Thank goodness Lisa Dengiz, with her usual “the party must go on” attitude, encouraged me to think positively and start cooking. Hot Italian Sausage with Pasta

Photo by Lisa Monahan

Sure enough, the evening turned into a warm and sunny pasta extravaganza. One of the recipes was such a hit with all of the men, I decided I had to quickly post it just in case you still needed the perfect dish for Father’s Day. You can look forward to a full report on the party next week, but in the meantime be nice to the men in your life and cook up some Special Spicy Father’s Day Pasta.

Al Dente Pasta with Hot Italian Sausage, Artichokes and Sun-Dried Tomatoes.

12 oz. bag of Al Dente Pasta (we used Roasted Garlic Linguine)

1 cup oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, sliced. (reserve oil)

1 lb. Italian Hot Sausages

16 oz. frozen artichoke hearts

2 large garlic cloves, chopped

1.5 cups chicken broth

1/3 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus additional for garnish

8 oz. water-packed fresh mozzarella, drained and cubed.

1 tsp. salt and pepper to taste.

Heat the oil reserved from the tomatoes in a heavy, large frying pan over medium-high heat. Squeeze the sausage out of the casing, into the skillet and cook until brown, breaking up the meat into bite-size pieces, about 8 minutes. Transfer sausage to a bowl. Add frozen artichokes and garlic to same skillet and saute for 2 minutes. Add broth, wine and sun-dried tomatoes. Boil over medium high heat until the sauce reduces slightly.

Meanwhile, bring large pot of water to boil. Add pasta and cook for 3 minutes, until “tender but firm”. Drain Pasta. Add pasta to skillet with sauce, sausage and Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with mozzarella, parsley and/or basil and extra Parmesan.

(this recipe was inspired by Every Day Italian, Giada DeLaurentis)