Before Clara was born, several people told us that we’d stop cooking as much when she arrived. There have been a few days we got takeout instead of cooking, like when she hit her first big growth spurt and I felt like all I could do was feed her the entire day, but Eric and I are still cooking more than some people expected (clearly those people don’t know us very well). Making fresh meals is important to us, so we put a lot of effort into doing it as often as we can. We may not be making as many involved recipes these days, but even a quick homemade meal is better than eating out every night. Now that Clara is getting a little bigger, we love having her in the kitchen with us while we prep and cook dinner. She especially likes it when I dance around the kitchen with her while Eric is cooking. I love that we get to spend time together in the kitchen, and obviously the delicious results are a big perk. The thing is – it’s not that difficult to have a homemade meal on the table in a short amount of time. Recipes like this one make it easy for us to have a homemade meal and still finish in time to read to Clara before bed.
I made a few changes to this recipe after making it as written. The original recipe used loose sausage, which sort of sank to the bottom of the sauce, so I swapped it out for sliced sausage. Eric preferred it the other way, though, so make it whichever way you think you’ll like best. I increased the amount of pasta and cream, and doing so resulted in a sauce that I thought was the perfect consistency. This pasta is much lighter than I thought it would be, even with the increased amount of cream, thanks to all of the arugula. I used to shy away from wilted greens, and I honestly have no idea why. Every recipe I’ve tried with them has been awesome. In this recipe, the arugula adds a wonderful peppery bite and helps to brighten up the pasta. This recipe doesn’t require much, just a few fresh ingredients and a little time in the kitchen. So now when I get some naysayer that asks me how often we get takeout now that we have a baby, I’ll kindly point them to this post.
Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water until al dente. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until well browned, 4-5 minutes. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the skillet. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, then add the red peppers and cream. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking until the sauce has thickened slightly, 8-10 minutes.
Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of pasta water. Transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl. Add the sauce, arugula, Parmesan and basil. Using tongs, toss the pasta until the arugula is slightly wilted. Add pasta water, a little at at time, as needed to thin the sauce. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed and serve immediately.
Adapted from Fine Cooking