I’ve never met a kid that doesn’t love pasta and mine sure eat their fair share. Even though most nights it’s a gluten free option, there’s pasta on our meal plan at least once but usually twice each week. And leftovers for lunch.
I know they’d eat the same pasta every night but my husband and I like to mix things up. I may be Italian, but I can only eat pasta and marinara sauce so much!
My solution is to toss pretty much whatever we have on hand, or what looked great at the market that week with some pasta, herbs, garlic and olive oil. With each change in season, I like to savor the last of the recent harvest by creating different combinations tossed with pasta. One of my personal favorites may be spinach with bacon.
But everything is wonderful with bacon. Right?
Ok, back to pasta. Recently I needed something that I could make the night before and reheat before packing it up for dinner on the go. With kids playing soccer four nights each week, we get creative and some nights eat dinner at the fields which means it needs to be portable and taste good at room temperature.
I found a few recipes from a variety of sources that were a new twist on the Chicken Sausage and Peas Pasta Toss recipe my kids already love so I merged them together to come up with a new “toss”.
There’s a bit more work with this one in removing the sausage from the casing but I’m not sure you really need to. We’re also fortunate to have local stores that sell high-quality sausage meat in bulk which removes that work for me. This night we used Chicken Apple Sausage from Al Fresco, but you could use any sweet (not spicy) sausage.
Our new pasta toss doesn’t have a clever name, but we like it just the same.
Sausage, Greens and Beans Pasta Toss
12 oz pasta
1 heaping tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped (we use sweet onions)
4 cloves garlic, chopped finely
12 oz chicken sausage, removed from casings or bought in bulk
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cup cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (to remove excess sodium)
1 medium head (7 to 8 cups) escarole or other leafy green (we’ve used spinach and bok choy too) rinsed and torn into bite sized pieces
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente. Drain, and toss with a splash of olive oil to prevent sticking.
While the pasta water boils, heat a large skillet on medium heat. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom. Once your skillet is hot, add onions, garlic, salt and pepper and sauté until soft (about 4 to 5 minutes).
Add sausage to your skillet, breaking up sausage chunks with a wooden spoon and cook until the meat is cooked through and golden (about 6 to 8 minutes). Set sausage aside in a dish.
Add chicken broth, beans and greens to the hot skillet. Stir and cook for about 4 minutes until the greens starts to wilt.
Return sausage mix back to skillet by gently stirring together. Mix in pasta along with more stock or oil as needed. Add grated Parmesan and adjust salt and pepper until you reach desired taste.
Let me know if you try this. And tell us your favorite “pasta toss” ingredients!