Although I'm usually pretty good at menu planning and having a clear idea of what I want to cook for the week when I do my grocery shopping, sometimes I only have an idea or ingredient in mind. In this case, I knew I wanted to have pasta with asparagus for Wine Night. I also knew I was going to need to add in a lot of flavor, as asparagus and pasta alone are not all that exciting. I grabbed some chicken sausage while at the store and figured I'd wing the rest once Thursday rolled around.
I was originally planning to make this dish with just the asparagus, chicken sausage, and pasta. But it still needed something. I had a little round of goat cheese in the fridge, so I tossed that in at the last minute and it made all the difference. The pasta turned into a creamy-coated, bright, and flavorful dish. Al's not a huge fan of goat cheese so I didn't tell him it was in there until after he gobbled up a bowl. After I told him he said, "oh, well the saucy lemony part really complimented the sausage". My little food critic.
This one is easy. One pot, 20 minutes, and you've got a fresh-tasting meal. And turns out it's pretty low in calories too, as long as you don't eat three serving sizes. ;) Make this for your Wine Night tonight!
Asparagus, Goat Cheese, and Chicken Sausage Pasta
- 1 lb. short cut pasta (I used the fun curly-q shape, cellentani)
- 1 lb. asparagus, cut into one inch pieces
- 12 oz. fully cooked chicken sausage, cut into pieces (I used Aidells’ sun-dried tomato)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 5.3 oz. goat cheese
- 1 lemon, zest and juice
- Salt and pepper
- Red pepper flakes
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Once boiling, add a few pinches of salt and the pasta.
- Cook the pasta to al dente.
- During the last two minutes of the pasta cooking, add the asparagus into the pot of boiling pasta water and cook until pasta is cooked through and asparagus is soft, but still has a bite to it and is bright green in color
- Reserve ¼ cup of the pasta water (you may not need it, but always better to have some just in case)
- Drain pasta and asparagus and set aside.
- In the same pot used to cook the pasta (hello! Saving dishes here), add olive oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes and heat over medium heat.
- Once the oil is hot, add the sausage pieces and sauté until slightly brown. (Remember, they’re already cooked, you just want to them to get heated and a little seared on the edges.)
- Turn off the heat and add the lemon juice, lemon zest, pasta, and asparagus to the pot and stir to combine.
- Crumble in the goat cheese with your hands and stir to combine. It will melt quickly and coat the pasta.
- If the “sauce” feels too thick, add a little pasta water and stir.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Serve immediately. (It also tastes great cold the next day!)
Nutrition: (per serving. recipe serves 6)