Recently, a friend and I took an eventful trip to Costco. Let me tell you, that place is a MADHOUSE on the weekends! After spending 10 minutes in a traffic jam in the parking lot, we spent another hour and a half fighting the crowds down packed aisles.
Despite the chaos, we had a pretty successful trip! We left with an overflowing cart and definitely filled every space in the car. I was sure to pick up my usual items: water, granola bars, oatmeal and paper towel. What I didn't expect to pick up was spicy sausage. Usually, I steer clear of the meat section since I don't cook enough to ever take advantage the mass quantity deals, before the meat expires. Due to over crowding and my friends curious nature, I ended up taking a look. The Costco package of sausage contained 24 links, so we decided to go halfsies on a pack... they looked so good!
Even after going halfsies, 12 links of sausage is a lot! I racked my brain to come up with an easy way to cook the sausage and this is what I came up with:
Sausage and Mozzarella Rigatoni!
1/2 a box of rigatoni or ziti (or both in my case)
3 spicy sausage links
1 clove of garlic
2 tbsps of extra virgin olive oil (evoo)
fresh mozzarella, cubed
1 tbsp maple syrup
your favorite pasta sauce (I like Ragu, it's pretty cheap at Costco)
1) Cook noodles as instructed on box
2) Place evoo in medium size frying pan and turn heat on high
3) Finely chop or mince garlic and add to oil in pan
4) Make a shallow cut down the center of each sausage link and peel off the casing. With your hands, separate the sausage to make it become similar to ground meat, then add to frying pan.
5) Once sausage has started to brown up a bit, add in maple syrup. I do this because the sausage is very spicy and my mouth can take it. If you like spice, you can skip this step.
6) Cook sausage until fully browned then toss in the mozzarella and your desired amount of sauce. (I usually use about 1/2 - 3/4 of a bottle, but adjust this depending on your preference.)
7) Once noodles are finished cooking, strain and place back into pot. Stir in meat sauce and serve.
This is great for busy weeknights. I've made it twice in the last three weeks. ;)