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posted: 4/10/2013 5:45 AM

Penne with Spicy Sausage and Zucchini in Creamy Tomato Sauce

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1 pound uncooked, organic whole-wheat penne pasta

12 ounces hot turkey Italian sausage, casing removed (I used Niman Ranch's Spicy Uncured Italian Sausage)

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1½ pounds medium organic zucchini, quartered length wise and cut into 1/2-inch slices

1 tablespoon dried oregano, crumbled

2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves, crumbled

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

6 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

¼ cup red wine vinegar

2 cans (28 ounces) organic no-salt-added whole tomatoes

¼ cup organic half-and-half

Olive oil cooking spray

6 ounces (about 1½ cups) grated reduced-fat mozzarella cheese

2 ounces (about ½ cup) Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Place oven rack in center position and heat oven to 375 degrees.

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside.

Place a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and saute for 5 minutes, breaking it up as it cooks. Cook until lightly browned; remove sausage from pan and set aside.

Add zucchini to pan and sauté, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes, or until just starting to brown; remove from pan and set aside. Add oregano, thyme, red pepper, garlic and vinegar to the pan and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until the liquid in the pan reduces by half.

While the vinegar cooks, add the tomatoes to a large bowl and, using clean hands, crush the tomatoes. Add crushed tomatoes and their liquid to the pan, bring to a low simmer and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the half-and-half. Add pasta, sausage and zucchini to the mixture; stirring and folding to combine.

Lightly spray a 13-by-9-inch casserole dish or pan with olive oil. Spoon half the pasta mixture in to the dish, Sprinkle with half the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. Top with remaining pasta mixture; sprinkle evenly with remaining cheese. Bake 20-25 minutes or until browned and bubbly. Serve immediately.

Serves eight, about 1½ cups per serving.

Nutrition values per serving: 437 calories (30.3 percent from fat), 14.7 g fat (4.2 g saturated fat), 56.8 g carbohydrate, 9.4 g fiber, 19 g protein, 18 mg cholesterol, 709 mg sodium.

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