On the list of Things I Don’t Understand in This World – and it’s a long list, to be sure – are two things (that come to mind at this moment):
1.) Why I just typed this whole post and a WordPress error prevented it from saving. Not that I’m complaining or anything. Oh wait…yes I am.
2.) People who are not driven by food.
Seriously. If you can’t be rewarded with a cookie, I don’t get you. You don’t think that a great meal can redeem a truly awful day? That’s not even real. I can’t bribe you with pasta? Not even pasta in a creamy mascarpone sauce tossed with lots of smokey sausage and fresh broccoli? I’m pretty sure you’re not actually a human being.
I mean, let’s be real, you could probably bribe me to do just about anything with a big bowl of pasta, and right now, this is the pasta I’d want you to bribe me with.
Mascarpone cheese is a soft, sweet Italian cream cheese. It is most often used in dessert-type applications, but what a lot of people don’t realize is that, when mixed with some lemon juice, zest, and a lot of fresh black pepper, it makes an incredible cream sauce for pasta.
To make this even better – as if it isn’t good enough already – this is a no-cook sauce at its finest. It really doesn’t get any quicker or easier than this. I was able to pull this whole meal together in about 30 minutes, and that’s only because I had to stop and photograph everything. If you’re a normal person without the compulsion to post everything you make on the Internets, we’re talking 20 minutes. Done.
Dinner is served.
- 12 ounces small, shaped pasta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound smoked sausage, sliced (I used a smoked turkey sausage)
- 1 pound fresh broccoli, cut into florets
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pint halved cherry tomatoes
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese, brought to room temperature
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and broccoli, and saute for 7-8 minutes or until the sausage just starts to brown and the broccoli is bright green and crisp-tender. Add in the garlic and cook 1 more minute.
- While the sausage and broccoli are cooking, stir together the mascarpone cheese, lemon zest and juice, lots of freshly ground pepper and a pinch of salt.
- When sausage and broccoli are done, add the pasta, cherry tomatoes, and mascarpone mixture to the pan and stir to combine, allowing tomatoes to just heat through and the cheese to melt, coating everything. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt or pepper as needed. Serve warm.