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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Pesto Pasta with Chicken Sausage

I have never worked with chicken sausage, let alone even seen it before so I was a bit nervous trying out this recipe on my family. My mom and sister (who aren't big fans of sausage in general) weren't thrilled with the chicken sausage and would have preferred the regular Italian variety. But my boyfriend couldn't get enough of it... so I figured it was blogworthy.

This recipe is super easy and can be made on a busy weeknight or even made ahead of time and frozen. I like to make my own pesto especially now that I have my awesome food processor. It takes about 5 minutes and really makes the meal. But if you don't make pesto or own a food processor, I recommend buying it from Wegman's. I think they make it the best.

The one thing I like about this recipe is its versatility. The original recipe I based this off of called for orecchiette pasta, but I couldn't find that so I used fusilli. My family didn't like the chicken sausage so next time I will either used grilled chicken or Italian sausage. It is completely customizable based on your family's taste, and will still be relatively healthy regardless of what kind of protein you put in there.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

Pesto Pasta with Chicken Sausage
Serves 4

12 ounces whole wheat fusilli
1/2 pound fresh green beans
1 cup frozen peas
8 ounces fully cooked Italian style Chicken Sausage links, thinly sliced
1/2 cup of pesto (fresh basil, olive oil, pine nuts, garlic cloves, lemon juice, parmesan)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, adding the green beans and peas during the last 3 minutes of cooking. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water; drain the pasta and vegetables and return them to the pot.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, turning occasionally, until browned, 6 to 8 minutes.
  3. Add the sausage, pesto, Parmesan, and ½ cup of the reserved cooking water to the pasta and vegetables and toss to combine (add more cooking water if the pasta seems dry).
That's all it takes! In 3 easy steps, you will have a delicious, healthy and filling meal for a busy weeknight.

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