Some Sundays I love taking the time to prepare a long, intricate dinner spread—something that sears and then braises and then roasts, ultimately developing layer up on layer of savory, mouthwatering flavors.
Let’s be real. Not all Sundays are this way.
Many are the kind that beg for a quick, hearty dinner. Like, when the air has a chill to it, you’ve been running around all day hauling the kids to various sports fields, and there are piles of laundry to finish up.
Enter fully cooked chicken sausage! There are so many varieties of chicken sausage (including organic!) available—and usually on sale—at the local supermarkets. I love it because it can sit in my fridge and I don’t have to worry about squeezing it in to a meal right after I buy it, since the typical expiration date is over a month out.
It’s also perfect to use for a weeknight dinner when you’re in a pinch and need something quick, but don’t feel like takeout, fast food, or delivery.
For this penne with chicken sausage recipe, I used ingredients from either the garden or our pantry—it’s good to keep that well stocked so quick dinners, especially on weeknights, are a snap. The result for this dish was out of this world (and ready in 30 minutes!!!), and the leftovers worked perfectly for lunch the next day (and the day after that)!
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 box dried penne
- 1 package fully cooked chicken sausage
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-1/2 cups marinara sauce
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup freshly chopped basil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup pasta water
- Set a large pot of water to boil. Warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat, then add the chicken sausage, browning each side for 2 minutes. Remove the sausage to a plate to rest.
- Meanwhile, pour 2 more tablespoons of olive oil into the skillet. Add the onions and saute them for 3 minutes, then add the garlic and salt, and continue cooking for 1 minute longer. Pour the chicken broth in, bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat to let it simmer for 5 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced by half.
- Once the pasta water has come to a boil, add the penne and cook until just before al dente, about 9 minutes.
- Slice the sausages and add them, along with the marinara and half the basil, to the skillet. Give it a good stir, and then cover the skillet, continuing to let the mixture simmer while the pasta cooks.
- Fold the cooked pasta and 1/2 cup pasta water into the skillet mixture, making sure the penne is well-coated. Sprinkle the pasta with the remaining basil and serve it hot with shredded mozzarella or Parmesan as garnish, garden salad, and a crusty loaf of bread.
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