Monday, August 20, 2012

Mother's Little Helper

School has started and moms (and dads) are scrambling to put a meal on the table for kids famished from a full day of learning and sports practices. Dinner needs to be relatively healthy, hearty, and quick. However, nobody has to reach for the Hamburger Helper.

Pasta with Sausage and White Beans is the kind of filling, tummy-pleasing dish that helps moms win at dinner. It comes together easily and blends simple flavors in a delicious way that will make kids reach for seconds. Tossing a quick salad and heating some garlic bread to serve with the pasta makes a complete meal. My mother would have probably skipped the salad and offered corn or green beans on the side and kept it even more simple with plain bread and butter. Do what works for your family; just let Pasta with Sausage and White Beans help get dinner on your kids' plates.

(adapted from Gourmet)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1/2 cup onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can white beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups chicken broth
1 pound small pasta, shape of your choosing
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 cup basil, chopped
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, finely grated

Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet.
Cook sausage, stirring to break up into large pieces, until browned.
Add onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring occasionally until onion is translucent.
Stir in tomatoes, beans, and broth.
Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened and reduced by half, about 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.
Toss pasta with sausage mixture, parsley, basil, and cheese until well combined.
Season with salt and pepper, if needed.
Serve with additional grated cheese, if desired. (Serves 4)

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