Since the Hartford Marathon (and the beginning of a much lazier existence for me) is less than three weeks away, I thought it would appropriate to share one of my go-to meals when I need to load up on carbohydrates the evening before a long run. This time around, I used broccolini as my green vegetable because they were on sale at the market, but you can easily use broccoli, broccoli rabe, green peas, or asparagus depending on personal preference or availability of ingredients in your area.
You really get it all in this dish -- spice from the sausage, sweetness from the broccolini and onions, and a subtle bite from the garlic. If you want to add another layer of flavor, sprinkle some freshly grated Parmesan cheese over the top before serving.
Hell... why stop there? Kick up the spice level a few notches with some red pepper flakes. Just be careful... A little of that stuff goes a long way!
Whole Wheat Penne with Sausage and Broccolini
- 1/2 pound dried whole wheat penne pasta
- 3 links hot Italian sausage, casings removed
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small white onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bunch broccolini, ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Meanwhile, assemble the remaining ingredients.
- Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage, crumbling it with the back of a wooden spoon as it cooks. Continue to cook the sausage until brown, or for about 5 minutes. Remove the sausage to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain off the excess oil.
- Wipe any oil that was released from the sausage during cooking from the pan with a clean paper towel. Return the pan to the heat and add the olive oil. Add the onions and garlic and cook until the garlic has just started to turn golden. Add the broccolini and cook until tender but still crunchy and until the onions are translucent, about 4-6 minutes. Add the sausage back to the pan and toss the ingredients together. Turn the heat down to medium-low.
- By now, the pasta should be ready to drain. Add the drained pasta to the pan and toss gently. If the pasta is too dry, drizzle in some extra-virgin olive oil to taste. Season with salt and pepper, also to taste.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
Recipe by Michelle Rittler, Taste As You Go
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