Chicken Sausage Pesto Pasta

My kids and my husband LOVE this recipe. They have no idea how much nutrition is packed in this pasta dish because the broccoli gets hidden by the pesto sauce. This one is also one of my favorites to make regularly because it tastes even better the next day after all of the flavors have been fully melded and absorbed by the pasta. (When reheating, I like to add a drizzle of olive oil to the dish to bring it back to life).
This simple meal takes about 25 minutes and the longest part is waiting for the pasta to boil!

Print Recipe
Chicken Sausage Pesto Pasta
I've found that this recipe is best with orecchiette pasta, but I've also used cavatappi and fusilli pasta. You'll need a pasta that has some texture to capture and hold on to the delicious pesto sauce. I usually have about 3 or 4 basil plants growing in our garden during the summer months so that I can make pesto to freeze and get us through the winter. That is what I use for this recipe. Before I did this, I would buy pesto from our local Wegman's antipasto bar. It tastes just as good! If you don't have a Wegman's (or a local Italian spot) where you can purchase this from, I do recommend making your own pesto. Most of the jarred options from the store that I have tried, left this meal flavorless.
Prep Time 5 Minutes
Cook Time 15 Minutes
Servings
Servings
Ingredients
Prep Time 5 Minutes
Cook Time 15 Minutes
Servings
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
  2. Chop the precooked sausage into slices.While the pasta water is heating, begin browning the precooked chicken sausage pieces in a well oiled skillet on medium heat. If using fresh chicken sausage links cut the casing and pull out the meat. You can also buy ground chicken sausage which is the easiest to work with. That takes about 5-8 minuets to cook at medium heat.
  3. After 5 minutes lower the heat and make room in the skillet to cook the garlic. Add a tsp of oil and then add the garlic. Cook for 1 minute on medium to low heat. Turn the heat to low.
  4. When the water boils, add the pasta and bring back to a boil. Cook the pasta according to instruction on the back on the package. Add the broccoli with about 3 minutes left of the pasta cooking.
  5. Reserve 1-2 cups of pasta water and set aside. Drain the pasta and broccoli.
  6. Add the pasta and broccoli to the pan with the chicken sausage and garlic. Add the pesto and cheese. Stir until the pasta is fully coated with the pesto. Add salt and olive oil to taste.
  7. Serve with additional grate cheese on the side.
Pest Recipe
  1. PESTO RECIPE: 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed 1/2 cup fresh spinach leaves (optional for added nutrition) 1/2 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan Reggiano cheese 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 1/3 cup pine nuts (I've also used cashews when pine nuts are hard to find) 3 garlic cloves, minced (about 3 teaspoons) 1/4 teaspoon salt, more to taste 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, more to taste Pulse using a blender or food processor the pine nuts/cashews and basil and spinach (if adding). Add the grated cheese and chopped garlic and pulse 5 more times. Scrape the edges of the bowl with a spatula. Slowly add in the oil Stir in more salt and oil to taste. (I double or triple this batch and freeze the leftover for winter dishes)
Recipe Notes

PESTO RECIPE:
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup fresh spinach leaves (optional for added nutrition)
1/2 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts (I've also used cashews when pine nuts are hard to find)
3 garlic cloves, minced (about 3 teaspoons)
1/4 teaspoon salt, more to taste
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, more to taste

Pulse using a blender or food processor the pine nuts/cashews and basil and spinach (if adding).

Add the grated cheese and chopped garlic and pulse 5 more times. Scrape the edges of the bowl with a spatula.

Slowly add in the oil

Stir in more salt and oil to taste.

(I double or triple this batch and freeze the leftover for winter dishes)

TIPS FOR A BETTER MEAL

  1. Use quality cheese. My husband is Italian and won't let me buy anything other than Locatelli Pecorino Romano.  (If I'm in a hurry, I will buy pre shredded parmesan cheese from the deli section - but only if I'm desperate on time!) 
  2. Reserve some of the pasta water. This is an important step! Once you mix everything at the end, you'll want to add in some water to soften the dish.  We reserve pasta water for every pasta meal that we make out of habit now. (Again my Italian husband taught me this trick!).
  3. Use quality pasta. We are spoiled and have a pasta shop that makes fresh pasta every day right now the street from our house.  But I also do buy orecchiette pasta from the grocery store.  Delallo pasta is a good one, that is made of just 2 ingredients and not enriched. 
  4. Cook pasta al dente. Don’t overcook the pasta.  It will become mushy and it also won't be as good as left overs.  This dish is amazing the 2nd day!

Hello! I'm Kim

I'm so glad you're here!! I'm a born and raised Midwest girl, living with my family on the East Coast. In 2019 I took a leap —- I left my corporate sales career to spend more time with my babes and start this blog! I love finding a good deal, while helping busy women look and feel their best. I also love to decorate and occasionally I’ll share some of my go to healthy recipes here!

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