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      Mary Anne's Farfalle With Creamy Sausage Sauce

      I always say that the easiest pasta dishes are usually the most authentic. This recipe hails from the Emilia-Romagna section of northern Italy. On those nights when time is of the essence, why not prepare your family an Italian dish that goes together in just a matter of minutes!

      16 ounces farfalle (butterfly) pasta, (or penne, fusilli, cavatappi, or garganelli)

      2 Tablespoons butter

      1 medium onion, finely diced

      1 yellow, red, or orange bell pepper

      4 cloves garlic, minced

      1 pound crumbled Italian sausage, mild, sweet, or hot, your preference

      1 cup heavy whipping cream, more if you like a creamier sauce

      1 cup frozen peas, optional

      1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

      Salt and freshly ground black pepper

      3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

      2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, for garnishing, optional

      • Prepare pasta according to directions on package. Drain pasta in a colander; cover with kitchen towel and set aside. Do not rinse pasta.
      • In a large saucepan heat the butter over medium heat and add onion, garlic and bell pepper andsaute' until softened and translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add sausage andsaute' until browned, about 5 minutes. Drain grease.
      • Add cream and, if using, peas and simmer over very low heat until thickened, about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Season with grated nutmeg, salt and pepper.
      • Add cooked pasta to sauce and stir well. Simmer on low heat a few minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and parsley and stir again. Serve immediately.
      Serves 4 to 6.

      Note: Other vegetables besides peas can be added to this tasty pasta dish. Plus, if you want to use half-and-half, you can, but it won't be as rich or taste as delicious as when you use the heavy whipping cream.

      Note: Garganelli is a short pasta from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. Although hard to find here in the Southwest, they are traditionally served with thick, meaty sauces like this one.