Friday, December 11, 2009

Creamy Sausage, Broccoli, and Pepper Pasta

When people think of lasagna or baked ziti, they think of tomato sauce.

Nothing against tomatoes, but I get really tired of the acidity, especially in the winter. Still, baked pasta dishes are easy to put together, delicious, and versatile. And they make great leftovers. That's why I came up with this creamy baked "ziti" recipe. It's perfect when you know you need to eat vegetables, but you're more in the mood for comfort food.

The Gimme Lean sausage offsets the sweetness of the red pepper and broccoli, and the peppery cream sauce ties them together nicely. I use unsweetened soymilk for this cream sauce recipe, because the sugar in other soymilk is really noticeable in savory dishes.

When you pour the pasta into the roasting pan, a lot of the sauce is going to sink to the bottom. Don't worry. While serving you can spoon it over the pasta, and after it's refrigerated, it turns solid, making it easy to scoop up as much as you like for your lunch later that week. It melts right away in the microwave.

Creamy Sausage, Broccoli, and Pepper Pasta
(8 servings)

1 lb penne or ziti or other small pasta
1 package Gimme Lean - Sausage Style
2 crowns of broccoli, florets cut into bite-sized pieces
1 large red bell pepper, diced
your favorite soy cheese

Cream Sauce: 
3 Tbl olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
Black pepper and salt to taste
2-3 cups unsweetened plain soymilk
2 Tbl onion powder
1 8 oz. package Better Than Cream Cheese

1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

2. Lightly oil a large frying pan (I like non-stick cooking spray in a wok). While the pasta is cooking, break up the Gimme Lean sausage into small pieces over the pan and cook until browned over medium heat, turning over regularly. Remove from pan and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

3. In the same large pan, add the oil, garlic, pepper, and salt and cook over medium-low heat for 2 minutes. Add the soymilk and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the Better Than Cream Cheese. Break it up in the pot to help it melt. Add the pasta, red pepper, and broccoli and toss to coat in the sauce. Add the sausage. Cook for 8 minutes over medium heat.

4. Pour the pasta into a large roasting pan, sprinkle with soy cheese and bake for 10 minutes.

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