Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pasta with Broccoli, Sausage and Walnut Pesto

1/2 cup walnuts
2 cups whole Italian basil leaves
2 cloves cleaned garlic
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup olive oil
1 pound frozen or fresh homemade cavatelli,  penne or rigatoni pasta
4 sweet Italian sausages (about 1 pound), fried and cut into slices
1 bunch regular broccoli  or broccoli rabe washed and boiled 15 minutes to get the particles all out , removing all the tough stem ends trimmed and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup fresh ricotta cheese
grating cheese
Preheat oven to 300
 Spread walnuts on a baking tray, and toast until golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Cool completely. Combine 1/4 cup nuts, basil, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in the bowl of a food processor. Process and, pour in 1/2 cup olive oil to form pesto, set aside.  Reserve rest of chopped nuts for garnish, and set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; cook pasta is cooked al dente.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet.  Add broccoli ,1/4 cup water, cover skillet, reduce heat to medium, and cook until tender. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspooon pepper, place sliced cooked sausage to pan to heat through. Toss cooked pasta with pesto,  season with salt and pepper to taste.  Arrange in large pasta bowl, top with sausage  broccoli  mixture, a dollop of ricotta cheese on top, and chopped walnuts. Sprinkle with grating cheese and parprika.
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