If you usually think of arugula as salad, think again. The bright, peppery green brings vibrancy and freshness to this otherwise rich pasta. Hot Italian sausage will make this dish spicy; for less heat, use sweet sausage.
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Break the sausage into bite-size pieces and add them to the skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, until browned, about 4 minutes. Pour off all but 1 Tbs. of the fat and return the skillet to medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the peppers and cream and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently until the sauce is slightly thickened, 8 minutes.
Cook the pasta in the boiling water according to package instructions. Drain well and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the sauce, arugula, cheese, and basil (if using) and toss with tongs until the arugula is slightly wilted. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.
For sweet treat after the meal, serve Balsamic-Macerated Strawberries with Basil over biscuts or pound cake.
nutrition information (per serving):
Photo: Scott Phillips