Pasta with Sausage and Arugula

My nonexistent photography skills simply do not do this dish justice, nor does the title of my post. It is a great mild medley of flavors that can be thrown together in less than twenty minutes. Although it is quick, it is nice enough to serve to guests.

I think it is fairly healthy, but I haven't yet had time to type the ingredients into my calculator. This recipe made about six servings. My mom and David both taste-tested for me and it got thumbs up all around.

The original recipe is in The Junior League of Houston's latest cookbook, Peace Meals. Of course I adapted it to fit my tastes. I did use all the original ingredients, just in amounts that differ from those in the original recipe.

After making this, I posted something about it in my Facebook status. Quite a few people commented that they have their own variation of a Sausage/Arugula/Pasta recipe. What's your favorite variation?

Penne with Sweet Italian Sausage and Arugula
12 oz. penne pasta
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb. sweet Italian turkey sausage (we used Jenny-O), casings removed
1 pint grape tomatoes
1 large onion, thinly sliced, rings roughly separated
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
kosher salt, to taste
5 oz. container baby arugula
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
extra virgin olive oil for garnish
freshly ground pepper

Boil large pot of water and cook pasta to al dente while preparing the sauce. When pasta finishes cooking, reserve two cups of the pasta water before draining.

Heat garlic and olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and brown, breaking it up into crumbles with a wooden spoon. Add onion slices and saute until transparent, a little over five minutes. Add tomatoes, red pepper and a pinch of salt. Saute for about five minutes then stir to break up the tomatoes a bit. Add half the arugula and stir to wilt it.

Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the sausage sauce. Raise the heat to high and stir to combine pasta with the juices. Add half the reserved water and stir well. Add the remaining arugula one handful at a time until all is wilted and incorporated into the dish. Add the remaining reserved water and cheese, stir well to combine the cheese into the sauce.

Garnish each serving with freshly ground pepper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.