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Fresh Food Recipe Makeover: Pasta with Broccoli and Sausage

March 25, 2012

In most cases, a fresh food recipe makeover is really a makeunder, and today’s recipe is the perfect example. I love the simplicity of pasta mixed with fresh vegetables, and the star in this recipe is truly the broccoli. I did away with the creamy broccoli and cheese sauce, and chose to create a tasty sauceless dish instead. It’s honestly a pretty humble recipe, which is great because it allows you to appreciate the flavors of the few fresh ingredients.

Recipe Results

Cons: Not a one!

Pros: I actually shaved 10 minutes off the recipe and it now takes 20 minutes to prep and cook from start to finish. As if that wasn’t enough, I reduced the calories by 39%. saturated fat by 69%, cholesterol by 51%, and sodium by 65%.

Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli
Yields: 4 Servings

12 ounces Whole wheat penne
3 links Sweet Italian turkey sausage
1 cup Yellow onion
2 Garlic cloves
2 cups Broccoli (cut into florets)
1 tablespoon Olive oil
4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese (grated, divided)

1. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta and reserve 1/2 cup cooking water.
2. Remove casings from sausage if necessary. Cook sausage in a large skillet over medium heat until sausage is browned, stirring to crumble. Remove sausage from pan and reserve on a paper-towel lined plate. Wipe out skillet.
3. Return skillet to stove and heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute 3 minutes. Add garlic and broccoli, cooking until broccoli is tender, about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Add cooked pasta, reserved pasta water, sausage, and 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese. Stir to combine. Transfer to plates and serve topped with remaining Parmesan.

Kate’s Thoughts
The beauty of this recipe is its simplicity. The key is using the pasta water to help bind your ingredients together. The starch that seeped into the water during the cooking process creates the perfect texture when reincorporated into the ingredients.

I chose to use turkey sausage over pork sausage, but it’s a matter of personal preference. I found the dish to have enough heat from the sausage seasoning, but adding a dash of red pepper flakes when you incorporate the broccoli and garlic would turn it up a notch.

ORIGINAL RECIPE:
Yields: 6 servings

1 1/2 pounds Sweet Italian pork sausage (casing removed)
1 medium Onion
2 Garlic cloves (minced)
1 10 3/4-ounce can Cream of broccoli soup
1/2 cup Milk
16 ounces Frozen broccoli
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (shredded)
4 1/2 cups Rotini
Crushed red pepper

1. Cook the sausage in a 6-quart sauce pot over medium-high heat until well browned, stirring often to separate meat. Pour off any fat.
2. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion and garlic to the sauce pot and cook until they’re tender, stirring occasionally.
3. Stir the soup, milk, broccoli and 1/4 cup cheese in the sauce pot and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until the sausage is cooked through and the broccoli is tender, stirring occasionally.
4. Add the pasta and toss to coat. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Serve with the red pepper, if desired.

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