Friday, March 14, 2014

Penne with Turkey Sausage and Broccolini

This is my quickest dinner by far and it's so good!  Mason said this week that it's his second favorite dinner of all time…makes me happy but the best part is that I get to sneak in a little broccolini.  I know some kids really like broccoli but mine have never eaten it willingly so this recipe has definitely helped me squeeze in some "green stuff".  I can have this on the table in 20-25 minutes and there usually aren't leftovers- everybody loves it!  It only requires a few ingredients and the preparation is so easy.  The sausage really flavors the dish so well-add in the broccolini and the cheese and you have yourself a great pasta dish.  If you need dairy free - just leave off the cheese and if you can't find broccolini, you can use the heads of regular broccoli cut in half.  Even the clean up is easy -two pots and one cutting board.  Enjoy this super tasty, easy pasta dinner!   

*Broccolini is similar to broccoli but with smaller florets and longer, thinner stalks.  It is a hybrid of broccoli and gai-lan (Chinese broccoli).

Broccolini before it's been trimmed.

Trim the ends of the broccolini and cut the stalks in half so they are not too thick.

Blanch the broccoli for about 5 minutes until just tender and you'll cook the pasta in the same water.

Place the turkey sausage in the pot and season well.

Cook until nicely browned.

La Recette:

1 - 12 oz. package gluten free pasta - I use BioNaturae.  If you don't need gluten free, regular pasta works too.
1 lb. turkey sausage removed from casings (your butcher can do this for you) or ground dark turkey meat
1 bunch broccolini, washed, trimmed and sliced in half
2 cloves garlic minced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional) - I usually leave this out if the kids are eating  
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper

-In a large sauce pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant - about one minute.  Add the turkey sausage, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper and sauté until nicely browned.  
-In the meantime, bring a medium pot of salted water to boil.  Add the broccolini and cook until just tender.  About 5 minutes.  Have a large bowl of ice water on the side.  Once the broccolini is tender, scoop it out with a slotted spoon and place it in the ice water.  This is blanching and shocking.  It allows the broccolini to keep it's bright, vibrant color.  After it sits for about 10 minutes, drain the broccolini well and add to the sausage.  Make sure the heat is off.  Mix well. 
-Making sure the water is boiling and in the same pot that you used to blanch the broccolini, add the pasta and 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.  Cook until al dente and reserve a 1/4 cup of the pasta water.  Drain well and add the pasta to the broccolini and sausage.  Mix well and add 1/4 cup of the pasta water.  Let it sit for two minutes and then add in the cheese.  Add in 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt and give everything a good mix.  
-Spoon into bowls, sprinkle with a little Parmesan and serve warm.

*Serves 4  

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