We Call It "Sausage Sauce"
This is one of the easiest shortcut meals you can make when you don't feel like cooking or don't have a lot of time. Since my wife isn't eating pasta this month, the sauce by itself is enough for her to eat as a meal. Serve it with a vegetable and/or salad, and you have a quick and easy pasta-free meal.
Now if you have the time, you would make this sauce from scratch, but I couldn't call it a shortcut meal. You could even make the pasta from scratch but then go out of your way to your destination. It's a nice trip, but it takes a while.
The Secret to My Shortcut Pasta Sauce
My shortcut is to find a jarred pasta sauce you like that doesn't taste fake or commercial. Is there anything as good as homemade? I don't think so, but some excellent products are on the market, especially when you need something quick.
I like using a 26 oz jar of Classico Four Cheese tomato sauce made by Di Parma. My kids like it and I can purchase it at Costco, but I'm sure plenty of other decent brands are out there. Once you add the sausage, it doesn't matter because the meat adds a lot of flavor. - What's Your Favorite Commercial pasta sauce?
How to Make Pasta with Sausage Tomato Sauce
To make this shortcut meal at home, brown some sweet or mild sausage. You can purchase it lose or in sausage links; it doesn't matter. Check the package to ensure it is hot sausage only if you and your kids love hot and spicy food.
One time I thought I was buying sweet sausage and the label said sweet sausage, but when I got home, half the sausage was hot. No way I was going back out, so I made the sauce hoping my kids would eat it. They tried but quickly made me aware of how hot it was and refused to eat it. Lesson learned.
Start by heating a saucepan over medium-high heat. If using sausage links, squeeze the meat from the casing into the pan. Break up the sausage meat into bite-sized pieces using a wooden spoon.
Brown the meat for 3 - 5 minutes. You don't want any uncooked meat before you start. Now for the easy part.
Add a jar of your favorite commercial sauce and heat it up with the sausage for 5 to ten minutes.
That's it. Quick, easy, and delicious.
Because the sauce is thick, I like to serve it with penne pasta, but you can use whatever you and your kids like. Serve it with freshly grated Parmesan cheese to give it another layer of flavor and have a nice meal.
Some of My Favorite Pasta Recipes