Sausage, Grape & Pasta Skillet

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Sweet grapes, savory sausage, and chewy pasta combine in Sausage, Grape & Pasta Skillet – a quick skillet supper that is beyond imagination.

I mentioned a few days ago that I took Ben to our new Whole Foods for the first time last weekend. It was…hilarious.

Although Ben and I share a mutual love for good, quality food and groceries, he’d been refusing to go ever since it opened a few months ago because he has no patience for crowds. Except at concerts where I think he feels the more the merrier. Riddle me that?

Anyways, the place is still a zoo every time I go, which is about 3 times a week (send help,) so up until now it’s been a big fat negatory when I suggest we go there and hang out. HANG OUT. ANYWAYS, we were cruising around town last Saturday running errands, when out of nowhere he suggests we stop and make his inaugural visit.

Huh? On a Saturday? The busiest day of the week?

Fine we won’t go.

Too late you already said it!

Whee – a semi-sanctioned trip to Whole Foods! We arrived shortly thereafter, and left an hour and a half later. I practically had to drag the man out!

Let’s make stuff with cactus! he exclaimed after seeing the large bins of unusual foods. We should grind our own fat-pill butter! he tried to convince me after seeing the grind your own nut-butter station (he calls cashews fat-pills. I don’t even…) THERE’S BLUEBERRIES IN THAT SAUSAGE! he squealed after seeing the sausage display case with dozens – literally, dozens – of different types of fresh sausages.

It was awesome.

We explored every aisle, pointing out this and that to each other, then left with cough, 2 cases of La Croix. I know! We were too overwhelmed with the plethora of choices! Even though I’d already been there dozens of times, it was also my first time to really explore the place. Whole Foods seriously has it all – especially this time of year.

I clapped when I saw smooth, tan butternut squash packed into an end cap in the produce department, and was tickled to see more organic apple varieties had been stocked from the last time I’d been there. Also, taking up a big display in the front of the store? Grapes. Tons of ‘em in every color and variety.

Grapes are the semi-forgotten fall fruit, often overlooked for the aforementioned and always popular squash and apple crops, but they’re at their absolute best this time of year too. Tight clusters, crisp skin, sweet flesh – grapes are great to have on hand right now to snack on and, as I recently found out, to cook with.

Oh yes – calling all adventurous eaters! Today we are incorporating grapes into a quick and super-unique supper: Sausage, Grape & Pasta Skillet.

Sweet, red seedless grapes are swirled and reduced with sauteed shallots, garlic, sausage, red chili pepper flakes, and chicken broth, then tossed with chewy pasta to create a quick skillet supper that is beyond imagination. Savory, with pops of sweet and heat – this dish sounds unusual, but I promise there won’t be any leftovers.

Start by assembling the ingredients for the Sausage, Grape & Pasta Skillet. I find it’s nice to have everything ready to go before you start cooking quick-fix dishes like this one. That way you’re not scrambling around trying to chop garlic while the sausage is burning, or something…

First cook 10oz orecchiette pasta in salted, boiling water then drain and set aside. I know I just used these, but I also happen to have a pasta purchasing problem as evidenced by the 49 boxes of different shaped pasta in my cupboard at the moment. I’ve committed to using them ALL up before buying anything new!

That is to say, use any short cut pasta you have on hand. :)

Meanwhile, cook 2 spicy Italian chicken or turkey sausage links in a large skillet next door (half batch pictures alert.) We’re just getting them firm enough to slice, not cooked all the way through, so cook for 1 minute on all 4 sides before removing to a plate and slicing into 1/4″ rings.

You can use whatever sausage you want for this skillet, btw. I used Apple Maple Chicken Sausage when I made this dish sans grapes for Ben (he’s not that adventurous – but you are!) earlier this week, and it was awesome. Oh also, use a sharp knife to poke a couple hole in the casings so they don’t burst.

K. With the sausages sliced and out of the way, heat 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, in the same skillet then add 1 large sliced shallot and 2 minced garlic cloves. Season with salt and pepper, then saute until the shallots are tender, about 3 minutes.

Next add in 2 cups halved red grapes, 1-1/4 cups chicken broth, and 1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes.

Add a few more dashes of salt and pepper, then turn up the heat and let the sauce simmer until it has slightly thickened, the sausage is cooked through, and the grapes are nice and juicy, about 8-10 minutes.

Add the cooked and drained pasta…

then 2 Tablespoons parmesan cheese.

Toss and hoss!

Sausage, Grape & Pasta Skillet

Print this recipe!

Serves 4

Slightly adapted from Epicurious

Ingredients:
10oz orecchiette (or other short-cut pasta)
2 spicy Italian chicken or turkey sausage links (about 7oz)
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper
2 cups seedless red grapes, halved
1-1/4 cups chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more or less)
2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta in a large pot of salted, boiling water then drain and set aside. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat, spray with non-stick spray, then cook sausages for about 1 minute on all four sides, or until firm enough to slice (do not have to be cooked all the way through.) Remove from skillet, cut into 1/4″ slices, then set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in the same skillet then add shallots and garlic. Season with salt and pepper then saute until shallots are tender, about 3 minutes. Add sliced sausages, grape halves, chicken broth, and red pepper flakes to the skillet, season with more salt and pepper, then raise heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until sauce is slightly thickened.
  3. Add cooked pasta and parmesan cheese to the skillet then toss to combine. Serve sprinkled with fresh parsley, if desired.

This skillet is an awesome way to use one of Fall’s finest fruits! Seriously loved the combo of sweet, warm grape, with hot, spicy sausage. You will totally find your fork wandering back to the skillet for more and more tastes. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya’!

~~~~~

What fall delicacies are you most looking forward to enjoying this year?

I’m going to try and get into spaghetti squash this fall. It’s healthy and low-carb which is a win/win in my book. Now to make it tasty… Also the combo of honey roasted peanuts + candy corn that I can never get enough of around this time of year. Delish! Oh, and Honeycrisps, natch!

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Comments

  1. Mer 09.19.2012

    This dinner looks delicious! For some reason, I can never find orecchiette pasta at the stores up here in Massachusetts. I always have to find something that looks similar. Hmm. Glad you and Ben enjoyed Whole Foods! Your stories crack me up!

  2. Jennifer 09.19.2012

    Oh man, spaghetti squash is the business! I am looking for a recipe I make all the time with the following ingredients: spaghetti squash, garlic, pancetta, kalamata olives, feta cheese, diced tomatoes, capers and anchovies(optional). It’s the best. I’ve googled every combination and can’t seem to find it!

    • Katelyn Rose 09.19.2012

      Wow that sounds like a good combo! I might just throw those things together and make my own recipe…thanks for the inspiration :)

    • Iowa Girl Eats 09.20.2012

      Ok that sounds awesome – so sort of a Summer Squash Puttanesca?

  3. Beth 09.19.2012

    Do you have any tips for cooking orecchiette without it sticking together terribly? I tried cooking some the other day for the first time, and a lot of the noodles nested together, leaving me with unevenly cooked pasta. Thanks!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 09.20.2012

      I keep the water on high and at a rolling boil which seems to agitate them enough so they don’t stick together.

  4. Emily 09.19.2012

    Honestly, I read the title of the recipe and thought it sounded disgusting but by the end of this post you have me totally, 100% convinced that grapes and sausage should be together. I’m making this ASAP next time I get my hands on my beloved chicken apple sausage.

  5. Afton 09.19.2012

    Have you been to the lunch farmer’s market on wednesdays downtown (on 13th). When I saw the pupusas today, I thought of you!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 09.20.2012

      I just went for the first time last week – super cute! I tried a hummus veggie wrap from the juice stand – so yummy!

  6. Kristen 09.19.2012

    My DH had never eaten spaghetti squash until it arrived in our CSA box last Fall. I like mine very simple- butter and a little grated parm. DH likes his with chopped onion and BBQ sauce. Two ways you might not have thought to eat it.

    The sausage and grape meal reminds me of people putting grape jelly with their vienna sausages for appetizers.

  7. Marie B. 09.19.2012

    We used to eat a Spanish/Cuban dish in South Florida called I believe, Picadillo or something similar. It was ground beef, tomato paste, seasonings, grapes and raisins eaten over rice, but it would be good over pasta.! Your dish reminded me of it and now I have to look it up AND try yours! :)

  8. Susan 09.19.2012

    My nephew (Matt or he might go by Matthew) works in the meat department at your Whole Foods! You should strike up a conversation with him. He is the sweetest guy, even if he is super tall! I love your blog all the way from Texas.

  9. Trisha 09.19.2012

    You could totally call this recipe Circular Foods Skillet. :)

  10. Amy 09.19.2012

    We’ve had Whole Foods for years. On October 26th, Trader Joe’s is finally coming to town. I can’t wait!

  11. Margaret 09.19.2012

    Grapes are awesome in curry dishes so this won’t be too much of a stretch at our house. It looks delicious. I might call it the Circular Foods Skillet as Trisha suggested.

  12. Katelyn Rose 09.19.2012

    Did you happen to get the Whole Foods email with the subject “Cooking with Grapes” today, or was that just serendipitous? Yum!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 09.20.2012

      Serendipitous! They are definitely highlighting grapes at all their stores right now though!

  13. Melissa 09.19.2012

    Many times when I cook a pasta dish, I”ll use spaghetti squash for me and make regular pasta for my husband. Or, it’s good just sautéed with garlic, olive oil, basil, and tomatoes. But, be careful cutting it in half! I pop it in the microwave to soften it a bit first.

  14. Rachel 09.19.2012

    That looks amazing! Thanks for the recipe (love your blog, btw).

  15. Never would have thought to combine sausage and grapes, but it looks so tasty!

  16. Whole Foods blueberry breakfast sausage is so good! It’s crazy how fruit can really complete a savory dish. I can’t wait to try this one!

  17. Grapes do sort of fall to the wayside this time of year, but they’re seriously so perfectly crunchy and delicious! I snack on them all the time, but I’m still a little weirded out by cooking with them. I think you may have finally convinced me to try it…

  18. Krista 09.20.2012

    omg, the Whole-Foods-Is-Awesome game is one of my favorites. I could probably spend all day in their cheese section alone…I bet they’d make a killing if they put hotel rooms in the store somewhere. a week of vacation – at Whole Foods? yes please.

  19. Laura Stano 09.20.2012

    Yum! I love combining fruit with recipes! I have to give a huge shout out to spaghetti squash – I LOVE IT! I use it to replace all pasta – it’s divine with your 3 ingredient sauce and I even use it to make tuna noodle casserole! I am dieting and don’t know what I would do without it. I hope you like it just as much!

  20. Rach 09.20.2012

    Whole Foods is a dangerous place!! I could spend HOURS in there too. Cant wait to try this out!

    xo Rach
    rachiecakes-rachael.blogspot.com

  21. Kristin, what a fun recipe idea, love the grapes in this mix!!! Looks fabulous, as always ;)

  22. Lizzie 09.20.2012

    This looks WONDERFUL! And so simple :)

  23. Carrie 09.20.2012

    I recently went to the Whole Foods in London. That place is 3 floors of amazing, with 6 full-service restaurants on the top floor! Whole Foods is great, you can buy anything and don’t have to worry about checking labels – they already do the work for you!!

  24. Tracy 09.20.2012

    I just bought my first kabocha squash of the season at Whole Foods this morning!

  25. That looks awesome!!love the combination of sweet and salty. I’ve got to try it soon:)Meriem

  26. True story: I saw this post on Twitter last night and clicked it, looking through the pictures on my phone before bed… and then I ACTUALLY seriously dreamed about eating grapes with pasta last night.

    I think I may be reading too many food blogs…

  27. Noelle 09.20.2012

    I’m an Italian gal, so pasta is a lifelong love. Around it, however, I have no control. So to try and limit my pasta intake, I’ll roast up some spaghetti squash instead. Cut in half, sprinkle with s + p, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning and roast, then scrape out and cover with marinara and Parmesan! It will never be as good as real pasta (duh), but it’s a tasty alternative if you’re watching your carbs, or trying not to be a ridiculous pasta glutton like me. I also like it with a roasted red pepper sauce and some more roasted veggies–it’s yummers!

  28. I <3 Whole Foods, and this dish looks right up my alley! Yummy! :)

  29. Liz N 09.20.2012

    I can spend hours in Whole Foods! My other fave is Trader Joes, but we don’t have them in Colorado (yet). I dread the day when TJ’s finally opens. The recipe looks great. I wouldn’t have thought of grapes and sausages but you make it look awesome. I’m looking forward to lots of Fall baking (pumpkin! pumpkin! pumpkin!). I also love using all the different squashes available this time of year (acorn, butternut). BTW, I just discovered LaCroix sparkling water…OMG…I’m addicted.

  30. Dawn 09.20.2012

    Wow, your recipes are so creative. I would have never imagined grapes in a pasta dish. This looks like a yummy quick weeknight dinner! Do you think large purple concord grapes would work? I have a huge container of those at home right now =)

  31. STACY 09.20.2012

    I have been shopping at Whole Foods a few dozen times. my husband and I tried to switch from our regular grocery store (currently Stop and Shop) which is a little bit pricey but the quality is good. I found that I used so much of the Stop & Shop’s organic store brand Natures Promise that the only place it really behooved me to shop there was for produce – which seems to last FOREVER when you buy it there. They are currently building a Whole Foods down the street from me and possibly a 2nd new one is going in in the town next door… I’m looking forward to it. I usually spend $20-30 on produce now, but when I buy from Whole Foods I don’t mind spending $30-50 b/c it lasts so much longer.

  32. AK 09.21.2012

    Were you compensated by Whole Foods for the post and grapes? Meghann mentioned she got free grapes from WF, but you didn’t disclose that.

    • Iowa Girl Eats 09.21.2012

      Yep, I was given a gift card to purchase grapes and use them anyway I wanted!

    • Dena 08.05.2013

      Who cares? Why is this necessary? Not trying to be confrontational, just seriously wondering. Was looking through recipes and will be making this tonight even though it’s not fall (close enough…ssshhhhhhh).

  33. [...] The Week in Wellness for September 16, 2012 Time for another edition of The Week in Wellness. Every Saturday, Stronger U Fitness picks out our favorite recent posts from the fitness and wellness blogosphere. We sift through it all – so you don’t have to! In time for autumn, Kristin at Iowa Girl Eats presents this Sausage, Grape and Pasta Skillet. [...]

  34. [...] Grape and Sausage Pasta Skillet from Iowa Girl Eats [...]

  35. jen 09.23.2012

    great recipe but when do you add back the sausage?

    • Iowa Girl Eats 09.23.2012

      Great catch! Add the sliced sausages in when you add the grapes, chicken broth, etc. I modified step #2 in the directions to show this. Thanks!

  36. [...] Thursday- sausage, grape, and pasta skillet. [...]

  37. hailey 09.24.2012

    i made this for everyone this weekend – such a hit, i’m totally obsessed!

  38. Linda Myers 09.24.2012

    Very good. Try adding fennel, cut in quarters. Brown in the olive oil, keep warm and toss in before serving. Personally, I would omit the salt, the sausage has enough.

  39. Jen 09.25.2012

    Delicious! I saw Whole Foods Market tweet this recipe and finally made it tonight! Added spinach so I could have some greens. Will def be making it again.

  40. Danielle K 09.26.2012

    Just made this tonight and it was awesome…even the hubby loved it!

  41. lauren du plessis 09.28.2012

    I made this for dinner tonight, and we loved it! One of our new favourites! ps.. I love in South Africa and love adventurous cooking!

  42. Lilli 10.05.2012

    I made this two nights ago it was amazing! Such a huge hit with hubby and even with a not-so-adventurous 4 year old! My husband and I were both very surprised when our son asked for seconds and then wanted the rest of my sausage and grapes when he saw I wasn’t eating fast enough lol!

  43. Vicki 10.17.2012

    This is so good. I had the ingredients on hand so decided to give it a try. It exceeded my expectations. I made it exactly as indicated. My chicken sausage was pretty spicy so I should have cut back on the red pepper flakes so I will adjust in the future. Definitely will be a “make again”.

  44. Meghan 10.27.2012

    This was so yummy! I actually combined some of these ingredients with some of the ingredients from your “Best Pasta Dish Ever” entry–sausage, grapes, olives, and kale on short-cut pasta. Oh.em.gee.

  45. [...] Fast forward at least two years, when Kristin from Iowa Girl Eats posted her recipe for Sausage, Grape, and Pasta Skillet. [...]

  46. Holly 02.04.2013

    Just made this for dinner tonight and wanted to let you know how amazingly delicious it was! I was skeptical about the grapes with the pasta, but I went for it because I love grapes and I want to be more food-adventurous and I am soooo glad I did! Yummm! Thanks for the great recipe!

  47. [...] on Pinterest right now- This recipe! ~~ YUM You can find the direct link HERE. I am absolutely in love with this recipe from Iowa Girl Eats. When we made it we used about half [...]

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