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Thursday, April 21, 2011

creamy baked penne with sausage, red peppers and asparagus

okay, i didn't used to be an asparagus person, so if you aren't don't let this freak you out - use some chopped spinach instead! (especially if your asparagus is pricey - i found mine at the dollar store. and in it's defense asparagus is soooo good in this!)

it seems like everyone has their own version of this favorite. i really love baked pasta so i thought i'd bake mine. hubby gave it a good strong 9 so it was a hit at our house!

creamy baked penne with sausage, red peppers and asparagus
4 servings

8 ounces cooked penne pasta
olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped (don't pay more than 88c ish for it!)
1 heaping teaspoon chopped garlic
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces (mine was short of a pound i think) (don't forget you can use a few cups of chopped spinach here instead!)
salt and pepper
1/3 lb spicy sausage (spicy really is good here, but if you don't want it spicy, use what you like. and chicken sausage would be awesome! we just used leftovers from a work party!)
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes (diced would be fine too, i was out!)
3/4 cup low fat ricotta cheese
1 cup part skim mozzarella cheese
a few handfuls of parmesan cheese

1. cook and drain your pasta! :)
2. heat a few teaspoons of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. add onion and bell pepper and cook until onion is translucent. add garlic. cook 1 minute, stirring. add sausage (if your sausage is raw i'd add it with the onions and peppers). heat 1-2 minutes.
3. add broth and tomatoes. bring to a boil. reduce to simmer until sauce begins to reduce. add asparagus (or spinach) and cover, letting asparagus get just crisp tender and letting sauce finish reducing, about 5 minutes (but watch closely - don't over cook your asparagus!).
4. stir in ricotta until melted (this makes a creamy sauce without having to use heavy cream)
5. stir in cooked pasta. mix well. pour into 13x9 baking dish. sprinkle evenly with mozzarella and parmesan. bake at 350 until cheese passes gooey and starts to get crispy - about 20-25 minutes.
6. serve immediately and don't bet on leftovers the next day. :)

1 comment:

Jessica and Garrett (but mostly Jessica!) said...

So, so weird. I have a red pepper and asparagus, and I was just thinking, "What on earth am I going to cook for dinner tonight?" (Lately, the heat has sucked all desire to cook out of me) What do you know?? You've got a new meal for me to try. AWESOME! Thanks, Britt.

healthy cooking on a budget

disclaimer: i don't claim to be an expert on cooking, weight loss or even healthy eating, but i do love to cook, find healthy, taste bud-friendly tricks and most of all, i love to eat!

qualifications: what qualifies me to blog on cooking healthy on a small budget? well, as my husband is still a student, my budget is not what you'd call large. and as for the healthy part, when i was 10 i was diagnosed with pancreatitus - a disease that doesn't effect me much anymore unless i eat food that is too greasy or has too much fat (in which case, well, let's just say i get really sick). this had steered my experience and limited cooking expertise in a health-conscious direction.

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