Not an Im-pasta

It really is me! I’ve been really Instagrammy for the past few months, but I’m finally in my own place with a decent kitchen, so it’s time to start cooking again. This is a super easy pasta dish that comes together fast and leaves you plenty of room to play around with the ingredients. It serves 4-6 people easily.

Equipment:
1 large pot for boiling pasta
Cutting board and chef’s knife
1 saute pan
Colander

Ingredients:
1 leek, cleaned, trimmed, and sliced
1 turkey smoked sausage, cut into slices
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 10 oz. package “Steam in the bag” broccoli
1 cup of water
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan, plus more for garnish
1 16 oz. box of rigatoni pasta
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil. Season generously with salt, and add the uncooked pasta. Follow the package directions for the proper cooking time for whatever pasta you’re using. Almost any shape would work for this. I like rigatoni because it’s substantial, holds on to the saucy bits well, and is just kinda fitting for a rustic dish like this.

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While your pasta is cooking, add a good drizzle of olive oil to your saute pan, followed by the sliced leeks. Season them with a big pinch of salt, and cook over medium heat until they’re softened. Add the sausage, and cook for 5-7 more minutes, until the sausage just starts to take on some color.

Toss in your cut tomatoes and give everything a stir. Season with a bit more salt to help the tomatoes give up their juice. Cook for another couple of minutes, then turn off the heat.

Your pasta is probably done by now, so go ahead and drain it in the colander, then pour it back into your large pot. Pour the contents of the saute pan into the pot, as well, then add 1 cup of water and cook over medium-low heat until the liquid reduces by about 25%. While that’s happening, ,you can throw your bag of broccoli into the microwave and let it do it’s thing. Just follow the package directions for the cooking time.

When the broccoli is cooked, add it to the pot. Then, add the shredded Parm and give it all a big stir. Give it another quick check for seasoning… adding salt, pepper, and whatever else strikes your fancy. I kept it simple because I was cooking for some kinda picky kids, but some torn, fresh basil leaves would be great in this, or even just a good sprinkle of your favorite Italian seasoning blend.

You can also substitute pretty much any other green veg for the broccoli. Green beans might be interesting in this dish, or even spinach. You could even make the dish vegetarian by using sliced portabella mushrooms instead of the sausage.

The whole thing came together in about 35 minutes, so this makes a really great weeknight dinner. Also, if you wanted to make this a one pot dish, just cook the pasta first, then cook the rest of the ingredients while the pasta is draining in the colander. One less thing to clean! Bonus!

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