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Sausage & Spicy Tomato Cream Sauce Pasta

This recipe is simple and a real treat.  Left overs are divine!

1 pound ziti pasta
4-6 Italian sausages (sweet or spicy), cut into 1/4 in. slices
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
3 or 4 cloves garlic, chopped
red pepper flakes to taste
course salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth or stock
1 cup half and half
2 1/2 cups shredded Italian cheese blend (or mozzarella)
1 to 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce (I use Hunt’s Light)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Get a large pot of water to a boil, generously salting, and cook ziti to al dente, about 8-9 minutes.

In a nonstick skillet, place sausage in single layer, cooking until there is a nice brown layer on each side. Remove and drain on paper towels.  Return pan (with all the tasty bits on the bottom!) to heat and add extra-virgin olive oil, butter, garlic and mushrooms (optional). Season to taste with red pepper flake, salt and pepper. Cook until mushrooms are lightly golden (if you don’t use mushrooms, cook until the garlic is soft, but not browned).

Preheat broiler to high.

To garlic/mushroom combo, add flour and stir, cooking until you smell a nice nutty aroma. Whisk in chicken broth and then whisk in the half and half. Bring mixture to a gentle bubble.  Stir in 2 cups cheese and a small handful of the Parmesan. When the cheese melts, it will look like a very smooth sauce.  Let it come to a bubble, then add the marinara sauce, mixing well.  Bring the sauce up to a bubble, taste and adjust seasonings as needed, and remove from heat. 

Return the sausage slices to the sauce, mixing them in.  Add the cooked ziti pasta and mix until well coated.  Transfer to an oven safe baking dish (I use a glass one).  Sprinkle remaining cheese, and Parmesan on top of the mixture.  At this point, I add a bit of fresh ground pepper as well.  Place in broiler until cheese is golden brown.

This recipe is AWESOME and not difficult to cook for as tasty as it is.  Enjoy!

Boudicca's Voice linked with Carnival of the Recipes
WTW - This Criminal is a Chicken

Just when you thought crime wasn’t high enough, even animals have to get in the act:

RIDGECREST, Calif. (AP) - Linc and Helena Moore may have finally learned the answer to that age-old question: Why did the chicken cross the road? Because the chicken doesn’t know jaywalking is illegal.

Kern County Sheriff’s Deputy J. Nicholson does know, however. The deputy issued a ticket March 26 because one of the couple’s chickens allegedly impeded traffic in Johannesburg, a rural mining community near Ridgecrest, some 220 miles northeast of Los Angeles.

The Moores were in Superior Court on Friday to plead not guilty. A trial was scheduled for May 16.

Nicholson has declined to discuss the matter, but sheriff’s Sgt. Francis Moore said chickens on the roadway have been a problem in the community of 50 residents. Officials didn’t believe it could be resolved by simply issuing the couple a warning.

"Sometimes you have to let people talk to the judge," Moore said.

The chicken’s owners say they believe they were cited because they were among several people who complained that sheriff’s deputies haven’t done enough to control off-road vehicle riders who create dust and noise in their neighborhood.

Sheriff’s officials say that isn’t so, adding they are doing what they can to keep off-roaders away from homes.

"The chicken thing has nothing to do with the motorcycle thing," Moore said.

I, however, discovered the truth regarding why the chicken really did cross the road…