With all the glorious fresh ingredients in season this summer, I have to admit that I have been completely uninspired to cook. In fact, I’ve been craving macaroni and cheese in the box (Annie’s counts as a little healthier right?) and hot dogs. Will has asked a few times, “Who are you and what have you done with my wife?” Maybe it’s all the sunshine that is so foreign here in the Northwest, or all the extra daylight we have to go outside and play. Either way, I have been in a cooking funk. That being said, here is one of simplest meals yet to date. The inspiration came from a Cooking Light recipe, however they made their own parsley pesto as to where I used already made basil pesto. This is not complicated folks, just tasty. Enjoy!
Pesto Pasta with Sausage
8 ounces uncooked spaghetti
3 ounces spicy chicken or pork Italian sausage, casings removed
4 garlic cloves, crushed and coarsely chopped
2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 ounce fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated and divided (about 1/4 cup)
2-3 tbs basil pesto
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Add pasta to pan, and cook 8 minutes or until almost al dente. Drain pasta in a colander over a bowl, reserving 3/4 cup cooking liquid. Discard the remaining cooking liquid.
Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage to pan; sauté 6 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Remove sausage from pan, reserving drippings; drain on paper towels. Add garlic to drippings in pan; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add 1/2 cup reserved cooking liquid to pan; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in 2 tablespoons olive oil; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add pasta to pan; cook 1 minute, tossing to combine. Remove from heat.
Add pesto mixture and salt to pasta; toss well to coat. Divide pasta mixture evenly among 4 shallow bowls; top evenly with sausage, remaining 2 tablespoons cheese, and remaining 1/4 cup parsley leaves. Serve immediately.
Adapted from Cooking Light