Thursday, June 9, 2011

Chicken sausage, beans & peas, pesto and pasta

This is almost a one-pot dinner, except that you have to brown the sausage slices in a frying pan before adding to the pasta mixture. You can use store-bought pesto or make your own, now that basil is in its prime growing season. I like to add additional herbs to my batches of pesto, such as mint, cilantro or oregano. Another variation that makes the pesto milder is to cut it with fresh spinach leaves or arugula. Use fresh or frozen green peas in this recipe, depending on whether you can still find fresh peas (I did).

Recipe: Pesto pasta with Chicken Sausage and Green Veggies Serves 4

12-14 ounces pasta, such as bow ties or fusilli, preferably whole grain
1/2 pound green beans, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup green peas
1 T canola or olive oil
8 ounces cooked chicken sausage links, thinly sliced
1/3 cup pesto
Parmesan cheese, at table (optional)

Add pasta to a large pot of rapidly boiling, salted water and cook until pasta is al dente. Add the green beans to the pot about 3-4 minutes before pasta is done, and add peas a minute or two before it's done. Reserve a cup of the cooking liquid; drain the pasta and veggies and return them to the pot.
While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil over medium-high heat in a skillet. Add the sausage and stir-fry until it browns, about 6 minutes.
Add the sausage, pesto and 1/2 cup of the pasta-cooking liquid to the pasta/veggies and stir well. Add more cooking liquid if necessary.
Serve in bowls and pass the cheese.

All you need with this is some crusty bread. Many wines would go well with these flavors, so just drink what you like. I'm partial to sauvignon blanc with pesto, but a spicy red such as zinfandel would complement the sausage nicely, as well.

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