++ The casserole in the photo was prepared using approximately 1/2 of my Rotini with Creamy Red Sauce, Italian Sausage and Chicken.
+ Rotini with Creamy Red Sauce, Italian Sausage and Chicken was inspired by ” jjbegonia’s Weeknight Chicken Riggies”. http://jjbegonia.com/2013/11/04/weeknight-chicken-riggies/
++ Update – December 2013
My sons and their families spent the weekend of December 15th here at my farmhouse, and we celebrated our ‘Roy Christmas’. We had so much fun being together – and this year there’s a new baby in the family!! (Our ‘Roy Christmas’ is usually two weeks before Christmas Day because one of my sons lives several states away.) I served Rotini with Creamy Red Sauce, Italian Sausage and Chicken, as well as Grammy Brouillette’s French Canadian Meat Pies – of course!
I’ve made three changes to the Rotini recipe simply because, like most people who love to cook, I really enjoy fiddling with recipes. So – now you have two ways to prepare this dish !
1. I took the casings off the Italian sausage and cooked the loose sausage-meat.
2. Instead of three boneless chicken breasts – I used one (1 1/2 lb.) package of chicken breast tenders, cut into 1″ pieces.
3. I added 1 (small) box of cherry tomatoes, cut in half.
This is a great pasta dish to make for guests because it’s yummy & it makes a lot ! And – the best part – you can prepare ahead and easily keep it warm in the oven, which gives you time to enjoy yourself.
I add red wine to my sauce. BUT, if you skip the red wine and add a bit of vodka, you have a delicious “Vodka Sauce”. Believe me, you won’t taste the vodka – it just gives the sauce another layer of flavor. Whether you add red wine or vodka, the alcohol content completely disappears during cooking, so there’s no concern about serving this dish to nondrinkers or children.
+ Recipe feeds approximately 6 – 7 people
+ To make less – prepare half the recipe, which is shown in the photo at the top of the page.
+ I kept the Rotini with Creamy Red Sauce, Italian Sausage and Chicken warm and also served it from one of those ‘portable ovens’. I highly recommend acquiring one if you entertain often. (They’re pretty inexpensive !!)
This isn’t a great photo – there was a lot going on, so I didn’t have to time to ‘light the shot’.
Ingredients and Method
- 1 to 1 /14 boxes — (16 oz.) Rotini, cooked al dente ++ I.E. – the center of the pasta should be chewy… not soft.) ++ There’s plenty of sauce if you chose to cook 1 1/4 boxes.)
- 2 packages (14 oz) Italian sausage — 1 HOT & 1 SWEET – cut into chunks. (Or – take the meat out of the casings and cook it loose.)
- olive oil – you’ll need several tablespoons
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts – cut into bite-sized chunks. OR 1 package ( 1 1/2 lbs.) chicken breasts tenders.
- 1 large green pepper, roughly chopped or sliced
- 1 large red pepper, roughly chopped or sliced
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped or sliced
- 3 cloves garlic – minced
- 2 jars (24 oz.) spaghetti sauce (I like ‘Bertolli Tomato & Basil’.)
- 1 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1/2 cup red wine ….. OR ….. 1/4 vodka Feel free to add more wine or vodka ‘to taste’
- OPTIONAL – 1 (small) box of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 1/3 – 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 3/4 to 1 cup HEAVY cream (Light cream works just as well….)
- 2 Tbs. fresh basil, chopped ++ Add as much, or as little, basil as you like!
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese – to sprinkle on top
Cut sausage into chunks (or, take meat out of the sausage casings). Set aside. Cut 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts into 1″ pieces – set aside.
Chop (or slice) 1 large red pepper, 1 large green pepper & 1 large onion. Set aside. Mince 3 cloves garlic – set aside.
Pour a few tablespoons of olive oil into a large skillet. Brown sausage pieces (or loose sausage meat). ++ The sausage does NOT need to be fully cooked. It’s going to cook more in the sauce. Place the browned sausage into a large saucepan or stockpot.
Remove most of the fat left in the frying pan – but not all.
Deglaze the skillet with 1/2 cup water. Add the chicken chunks and simmer (uncovered) for 4 – 5 minutes – stirring often – until chicken is no longer pink. ++ Don’t overcook chicken – you don’t want tough chicken! Place cooked chicken (and any juices) in the stockpot already containing the cooked sausage.
Now add a few tablespoons olive oil to your frying pan. Cook the chopped (or sliced) pepper and onions until they are crisp tender. Add 3 cloves minced garlic and cook another minute or so.
Place the cooked onions, peppers and garlic in the stockpot containing the cooked sausage and chicken.
Add to the stockpot; 2 jars (24 oz.) spaghetti sauce, 1 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, 1 tsp. sugar, 1/2 cup red wine ( OR ….. 1/4 cup vodka ) and 1/3 – 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese. (Optional – 1 (small) box cherry tomatoes, cut in half.)
Simmer – uncovered – for 1/2 hour, stirring often so the sauce doesn’t stick. ++ While sauce is simmering – cook Rotini according to package directions.
After simmering sauce gently for a half hour, add 3/4 – 1 cup cream. (Any type of cream will do !) Simmer on low for 1 – 2 minutes. ++ Be sure to ‘simmer’ – you don’t want to curdle the cream! Add 2 Tbs. chopped fresh basil. ++ I like to add the basil at the last minute so you really get all the fabulous fresh basil flavor, which seems to ‘get lost’ if it’s cooked too long.
+ These two photos show only HALF the recipe
Place the cooked and drained Rotini into a large serving bowl or casserole.
Add the creamy red sauce – mix until well-blended. Sprinkle on 1/3 – 1/2 freshly grated Parmesan cheese – and serve.
Or………you can bake your Rotini with Creamy Red Sauce, uncovered, at 350F for 15 – 20 minutes, which actually intensifies the flavor.
If you want to keep your Rotini with Creamy Red Sauce warm for a while – just lower the heat to 225F & cover the casserole with aluminum foil. Andiamo a mangiare !