I got this delicious jalapeno cream cheese at the farmer's market and knew that it needed a special purpose. Paired with spicy Italian sausage, then tempered with a creamy sauce, this was a great contrast of flavors and textures. If you can't find jalapeno cream cheese, simply dice a jalapeno and add it with the mushrooms, then use plain cream cheese.
Spicy Sausage Vegetable Pasta
1 pound whole wheat pasta
1 pound asparagus, woody ends removed, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 cups marinara sauce
4 ounces jalapeno goat cheese
1/3 cup cream
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Place a large pot of water to boil. Add pasta and cook 5 minutes. Add asparagus to pasta pot and cook additional 4-5 minutes. Drain and set aside in a large bowl.
Heat a large nonstick skillet on medium high heat. Add sausage and cook until browned, breaking up into small pieces. Drain fat and set aside in a bowl. Warm the skillet again on medium and heat up the oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook 3-4 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook additional 3-4 minutes. Stir in the marinara sauce and cream cheese and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in cream and simmer another 3-4 minutes. Add sausage back to skillet, and then pour entire skillet mixture into the large pasta bowl. Add 3/4 cup Parmesan and salt and pepper to taste and toss.
Serve with additional Parmesan on the table for sprinkling.