Pasta with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Walnuts, and Sausage

This is a new favorite with us. It’s easy and healthy and mostly uses things already on hand (esp. the sun-dried tomatoes in the quart jar from Costco). It works really well with the protein enriched pasta that Allison mentioned (I am also a big fan of that stuff)–in fact, I adapted it from the back of a Barilla box. It works well with regular rotini, though, and I think it would work nicely with penne too. Our local grocer makes Italian sausage that’s very affordable & yummy, so I’d recommend looking in the fresh meats. I also recommend getting the hot sausage–I usually don’t like it, but this is a very mild dish.

1 box rotini pasta
1 – 2 lbs hot Italian sausage or gourmet chicken sausage (1 lb if you’re going light on the meat, 2 lbs if you want sausage in, say, every other bite)
2 cups broccoli florets
1 cup walnut pieces (or coarsely chopped walnuts)
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil & herbs
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon dried basil (or about 16 fresh basil leaves, shredded)
salt & pepper to taste

1. Cook the pasta acc. to box directions. Add broccoli for the last 3 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, cook sausage on a grill or acc. to package directions. Cut into half-inch-wide slices.
3. Toast walnuts in a frying pan for 2 minutes, stirring constantly
4. Cut sun-dried tomatoes into short strips, if necessary.
5. When pasta & broccoli are done, drain & return to pan. Add olive oil & stir, then add everything else, stir, and serve. Enjoy!

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