Thursday, August 19, 2010

Gemelli Pasta with Cipollini Onions, Cherry Tomatoes and Chicken Sausage

I am fully aware that I can tote up to 10 kilograms/22 pounds of chicken back to Canada when I visit the States. Trader Joe's chicken sausages are always in my cooler when I cross the border from a trip to the Boston area. They have the best flavors, such as jalapeno, apple, sweet Italian, roasted garlic and andouille. I have never brought back my full allowance, mostly because my husband feels one day we might be asked to toss it all in the bin at customs (he likes to worry) and because we don't have a deep freezer.

This is a delicious pasta to serve alongside the Italian chicken sausage. If you don't have a Trader Joe's near you, most grocery stores do sell chicken sausages these days. I have seen chicken sausages at Super Walmart. We have one in nearby Malone, NY (about an hour from where we live). I have also seen chicken sausages in the cases at Atwater Market upstairs in Montreal. And President's Choice brand is selling a plain chicken sausage in Loblaw's stores in Canada. The main reason I go for the Trader Joe's sausage is because they are reasonably sized, inexpensive, low in fat and calories and they are natural - and, of course, the many flavors they have available.

Cipollini onions are used in this recipe to lend a complex sweetness to the finished dish. These yellow onions look like a pearl onion that has been squashed flat, but their flavor is unlike other onions. The fresh cipollini onions are available at Chez Louis at Jean-Talon market and at Atwater Fruiterie. If you cannot find cipollini onions in the produce section of your grocery store or specialty market, use a bit of shallot or a small yellow onion. I used red, yellow and purple cherry tomatoes for this recipe, because I wanted to add a bit more color to this dish. Serve this pasta with a green salad.

2 sweet Italian chicken sausages
3 ounces/85 grams gemelli pasta
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3.5 ounces/100 grams cipollini onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
7 ounces/200 grams multi-colored cherry tomatoes, halved
6-8 fresh basil leaves
Shaved parmesan, to serve

Grill, broil or pan fry the chicken sausage according to the package instructions.

In a medium pot, bring salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for 7-9 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a large pot, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic; sauté for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for 5-7 minutes. Add the basil and pasta to the tomato sauce. Stir to combine.

Divide into two bowls to serve. Top the pasta with a few parmesan shavings. Use a vegetable peeler to shave the wedge of parmesan over the top. Serve alongside a chicken sausage.

Serves 2

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