Thank you, Trusted Cooks, for expanding my horizons!
Creamy Skillet Penne with Broccoli and Sausage
Recipe from my mom, who I think got it from Cooks Magazine
Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes
1 lb hot or sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 onion, chopped fine
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced thin
8 ounces whole wheat penne (about 2 ½ cups)
3 garlic cloves, minced
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
1 cup wine
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
½ cup heavy cream (or use your son's whole milk, that works fine too)
8 ounces fresh broccoli florets*, cut into 1-inch pieces
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste
*One large head of broccoli should yield about 8 ounces of florets. Alternatively, bags of cut broccoli florets are available in the produce section of most supermarkets, or you can package your own at supermarket salad bars.
1. Cook sausage in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, breaking up pieces with wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Drain sausage on paper towel-lined plate.
|I used a really mild sausage since I was feeding this to little ones|
2. Cook onion and bell pepper in sausage fat until softened, about 8 minutes. Add penne and cook, stirring often, until pasta is lightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and pepper flakes until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in wine, broth, and cream and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until pasta begins to soften, about 8 minutes.
|Red wine gives an interesting pink color. But white wine is good too! Use what you have.|
3. Add the drained sausage back into the skillet and stir. Arrange broccoli on top of pasta and continue to cook, covered, until broccoli is bright green and tender and pasta is al dente, about 8 minutes. Off heat, stir in Parmesan, basil, and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
|I love fresh broccoli.|
According to all the cooking rules in my head and in my home, I never should have made this recipe. For one thing, the ingredient list is just a little longer than I'd prefer. Plus I don't usually cook a whole lot with italian sausage. Nothing against it! There are several things I make that I really like it in. But it's not a go-to meat for me. And the final strike against this recipe is the bell pepper. Rob hates bell peppers. Passionately. I know, it hurts my cooking soul a little.
But when I spent that week at my mom's last month, she made this one night for dinner. I inhaled firsts. I savored seconds. And I briefly contemplated thirds before my stomach posted a "No Room Left in the Inn" sign. It suddenly didn't matter to me that it had peppers in it; I had to have this recipe.
And though I miss Rob whenever he's on a business trip or working late, my taste buds totally celebrate the opportunity to savor flavors I don't normally get. Yum!!