Or, what Hamburger Helper wants to be when it grows up.
Pasta with Sweet Sausage and Cream
8 sweet Italian sausages, removed from their casings
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cups of heavy cream
2 tablespoons Cognac, optional
1 pound shell pasta
Place sausages and minced onion in a saucepan and cook over low heat until sausage is lightly browned. Break up the meat with a fork as it cooks, so it is crumbly. Add cream and cook until thickened. Heavy cream will never curdle, so it doesn’t matter if the cream comes to a low boil. It will thicken more quickly. Add cognac. Stir sauce gently through cooked pasta and serve.
This one is about as close to a no-brainer as a recipe can get. When you’ve got a writing (or editing) job that absolutely has to get finished, plus a family that absolutely has to get fed — and deli-meat sandwiches or takeout Chinese for some reason aren’t in the cards — this dish will come through for you every time.
(Save it for emergencies, though, for your heart’s sake. It’s not a dish you want to put on the table every day.)