After a quick glance at the above photo, one might think that I slaved in the kitchen putting this pasta together. A pasta, sausage and vegetable dish with a hearty and creamy sauce would require at least two pans and a strainer, right? Wrong. This is a one pan meal---making it perfect for a weeknight dinner.
The pasta is toasted first with the vegetables. This process brings out a nutty flavor. Then it is simmered in wine, stock, and cream just until tender. The broccoli is added halfway through cooking, so it retains its bright color but is tender to the bite. Parmesan cheese, fresh herbs, and some good balsamic vinegar are stirred into the cream mixture to round out the rich and hearty flavor. A delicious, one pan meal with something for everybody that is perfect for busy weeknights? Sign me up!
Creamy Skillet Penne with Sausage and Broccoli
1 pound hot or sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into thin strips
8 ounces penne pasta
3 medium garlic cloves, finely minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 cup white wine
2 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup heavy cream
8 ounces broccoli florets, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a large non-stick skillet, cook the sausage over medium-high heat, breaking up the pieces with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon transfer the sausage to a paper towel lined plate, reserving the fat in the pan.
Add the onion and bell pepper to the fat in the skillet and cook until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the penne and cook, stirring often, until the pasta is lightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and pepper flakes if using and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the wine, stock, cream, and drained sausage and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pasta begins to soften, about 8-10 minutes.
Remove the lid and arrange the broccoli on top of the pasta and cook, covered, until broccoli is bright green and tender and pasta is al dente, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the cheese, herbs, and vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve. Enjoy!
Source: Adapted from Cook's Country: Skillet Suppers