Creamy Sausage and Mushroom Rigatoni

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Is it still considered Hamburger Helper if it's made with Italian sausage? If it's not made with powders from bags that come in a box? I'm not sure if the difference is that distinct...

This recipe for Creamy Sausage and Mushroom Rigatoni from The Girl Who Ate Everything is uncannily similar to the Spicy Penne and Sausage I've made once in a while. They could be twins. Feel free to add parmesan to this, or basil to that. Peas could go well with this, or maybe some bacon.

In the end, it was easy, inexpensive, and good, which is exactly what a busy weeknight needs. It's adaptable to what's in the kitchen, provided you've got some cream or half-and-half on-hand (have I convinced you yet of their overwhelming utility?).

Creamy Sausage and Mushroom Rigatoni in a bowl with
parmesan

Shrimp and Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

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Standing in stark contrast to the last pasta dish I made, there's this one. The blog I got this from, The Pioneer Woman, calls it Penne a la Betsy. In my mundane way, I'm calling it Shrimp and Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce.

This wonderful, rich, creamy dish comes together quickly and, except for the shrimp, I had everything I needed: A small can of tomato sauce from the Indian-spiced Stew a few weeks ago, some pasta I collected (bow ties are cool), and some cream. I've started keeping the ultra-pasteurized cream in my fridge for emergency scone baking and sauces. It keeps for a month, and it's extremely useful.

I didn't have any white wine left (thank the chicken for that one), so I just used a bit of water. This turned out a bit thin, so I let it simmer to thicken it back up. A bit of chicken stock would help fill in some flavor gaps, I suspect, if you don't have wine. Personally, I filled those gaps with some parmesan and red pepper.

All in all, this one was very good. I gorged myself stupid, have plenty of leftovers, and now, fat and happy, I'm telling you about it.

PS: The leftovers went well mixing the peas right in there.

Shrimp and Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce and some peas