March 12, 2013

Pesto Pasta with Chicken Sausage and Roasted Brussels Sprouts

My friend, Claire was telling me about this dinner that they had recently. Oddly, I'd not seen it before--even though she blogged about it a year ago and had it saved on Pinterest. I follow her boards fairly closely, and I don't know how I missed it! We were randomly talking about dinner ideas and she suggested this again. She sent me a link to the recipe from her blog, and I still didn't make it for a whole extra week. Yeesh. I don't know why I stalled, because I had both the Brussels Sprouts and chicken sausage on hand. Roasted Brussels sprouts are one of our favorite veggies and anything with pesto usually gets devoured around here. It is definitely a recipe that should have caught my attention!

Well, we finally got around to trying this meal and it was fantastic. Everyone loved it, including the kids. My son asked for the leftovers to go in his lunchbox to take to school the next day. I don't think he's ever done that before!!! I liked that it was super-delicious and basically a balanced meal in one with the pasta, veggies, and sausage. I doubled the amount of Brussels Sprouts and used a mild Italian chicken sausage. Also, I did save a cup of pasta water, which made the pesto more of a sauce consistancy and let me get away with using less than I probably would have normally. All in all, I highly recommend this one and I'm kicking myself for not finding it sooner!

Pesto Pasta with Chicken Sausage and Brussels Sprouts
Adapted From: Cooking Claire blog

2 lb fresh Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and sliced in half
3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly-ground black pepper
1 lb orecchiette pasta
5 mild Italian chicken sausage links
5 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1/3 cup pesto (I used half of a fairly small jar)
Parmesan cheese, for serving
1 cup of cooked pasta water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread brussels sprouts on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 Tbsp olive oil, salt, and pepper. Stir around until well combined. Roast for about 20-30 minutes, stirring once partway through, or until they are crispy on the outside and cooked on the inside. Remove from oven and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, turning occasionally, until nearly-browned, about 6-8 minutes. Remove from pan, slice, and add back into skillet to brown sliced sides. Add the garlic, and continue cooking for another 1-2 minutes until the garlic is fragrant and the sausage is browned.

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Once the pasta is cooked, drain the water (reserving 1/4 cup pasta water), and then toss together the pasta, pesto, cooked sausage and garlic, and brussels sprouts. Add in some of the reserved pasta water if needed for extra moisture.

Serve warm, and sprinkle with freshly-grated Parmesan cheese.

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