Ok, if you’re cooler than me, you probably have a garden full of fresh vegetables. And you’re probably picking them every night before dinner to have super fresh ingredients and I’m jealous of your green thumb because I kill everything that I look at, apparently.
When we moved into our rental house we were overwhelmed by the thought of having a back yard. How does one mow a lawn? Or weed things? Or prune trees? Beats me. That’s what hunky fiances are for. I tried growing things on my porch but turns out, you have to water things in order for them to stay alive. Who knew? Oh, they teach that in Kindergarten? I must have been absent that day…YOLO!
All joking aside, we are planning on actually planting a full garden next spring to try to save some money on produce. There’s a huge garden on the side of our house that the previous tenants had built and we’re excited to plant when the time comes. Maybe I’ll actually water them…
In the summer months, I frequent many farm stands and markets to get fresh produce and there are days when it’s just too hot to cook and we go out and get pizza instead. And my fresh beauties just sit in a bowl on my counter until I decide to use them. That’s wasteful, you guys. Don’t be like me.
So, I decided to make this pasta dish to sort of clear my fridge and pantry and let me tell you something…so good. So so good. And, easy enough to clean up so you can get back to watching Titanic on Netflix or drinking mojitos with your feet in a baby pool. Priorities.
You can pretty much use whatever vegetables or pasta you have on hand, you just might have to adjust the cooking time. If you don’t have the sausage or you want to leave it out to make it vegetarian, be my guest. I don’t own you.
Cheesy Garden Party Pasta
- 1/2 lb. small pasta (I used egg noodles…you could use farfalle, orecchiette, orzo…some other Italian word that I can’t pronounce…)
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 c. fresh broccoli, cut into small florets
- 2 ears of sweet corn, shucked and cut off of cob
- 1 bell pepper, seeded and sliced into thin strips
- 2 small zucchini squash, cut in half then sliced thin
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1 T. minced garlic
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 lb. smoked chicken sausage, sliced thin
- 2 c. chicken broth (or vegetable, you cruelty-free person, you)
- 1/2 c. heavy cream (or milk…dat’s fine)
- 2 c. shredded cheese of choice (I used sharp cheddar and parm)
- salt & pepper to taste
Wash and slice vegetables and set aside, separating the onions. Drizzle 2 T. cooking oil into a large skillet and heat over medium until hot. Add minced garlic and onion to skillet and cook until onions begin to soften. Add in sliced sausage and cook over medium heat until slightly brown and crispy, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add remaining vegetables to the skillet and stir to combine. Place lid on skillet and let cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to reduce and soften. Add in pasta, diced tomatoes, broth, cream, salt & pepper and stir. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Let simmer for 12 minutes, or until pasta is al dente. Sprinkle in half of the cheese and stir until melted. Sprinkle on remaining half of cheese, covering the surface of the pasta and place under a heated broiler about 5 minutes, or until top is golden brown.
I’ve made this a number of times and it always comes out perfect. While eating it yesterday, Adam turned to me and said it was one of his favorite meals. And then he ate two heaping bowls full.
You could use any fresh vegetables you have on hand, and sometimes I’ve even used frozen corn or broccoli, depending on what I have in my freezer. Spinach or kale would make a great addition, peas and carrots–of if you’re feeling particularly ambitious you could saute some diced chicken instead of the sausage, or even ground turkey or beef. I mean, the possibilities are endless. And anything that has cheese on it is bound to be delicious.