Happy Monday and hello from the other side of the weekend – how are you? ?
We had a great last couple of days, and finally got our Christmas decorations up! Actually, Lincoln’s elf on the shelf “Penny” assembled the tree late Friday night, which rendered him equal parts terrified and delighted when he came downstairs on Saturday morning. I don’t think he loves the idea of a tiny elf creeping around his house while he sleeps every night, but the smile on his face when he saw the decorations was priceless.
I’ll tell you what does have a price though – a new tree topper. I’ve always used a santa hat to top the tree, which matches our red and white velvet tree skirt, but Lincoln thought Penny brought him a matching hat, and how could I tell him otherwise? “Why did he put it on top of the tree, Mom?” Because Mommy wasn’t thinking, dear! ?
Later that morning I said goodbye to the boys and met up with two of my favorite Iowa bloggers and people, Alexa and Bethany, for a long coffee date. We lost track of time talking shop, babies, health, and more. Note to self: spend more Saturday mornings with friends. Weekend chores can wait – that was really good for my soul.
Totally unrelated but have you tried cutting out paper snowflakes anytime in the last two decades? I had to google directions AND text a crafty friend when I just could not. figure. it. out. Total shame fest. I can’t even imagine what’s going to happen when Lincoln needs help with his math homework in 10 years. ?
Anyway, we woke up to a light dusting of snow on Sunday so we had a snow day playing outside (well, Lincoln and Ben did!) making homemade Chex Mix, watching Christmas movies (how creepy are the elves in The Polar Express?!) and playing with this jolly elf. Finally managed to catch his little sideways smile on camera. I am so loving the infant stage this time around. If you need me at any point during the day, you can usually find me inhaling the sweet scent of his little face!
I also took some time to photograph the recipe I’m sharing with you today – 20 Minute Sausage, Brussels Sprouts and Parmesan Pasta! Actually it almost feels like cheating calling this a “recipe” because it’s so simple and straightforward. Regardless, it goes from fridge to table in 20 minutes or less making it perfect for busy weeknights.
Cooked pasta is tossed with browned Italian sweet sausage, sauteed brussels sprouts, a nearly-offensive amount of garlic and freshly grated parmesan cheese, and tons of cracked black pepper. It’s kind of a mash up of cacio e pepe, this dish, and this dish. Simple, familiar flavors in a hearty and filling dish. I totally dig it.
The best part of this recipe is that there’s zero prep work involved so you can keep your knife and cutting board put away. The couple of times I tested this dish I found myself standing in the kitchen tapping my foot waiting for the water to boil because there’s nothing to slice and dice, including the brussels sprouts because I used a bag of pre-shredded from the store. Easy!
I used gluten-free spaghetti but you could use whatever pasta you already have in the house. I also think this dish would be fantastic with zucchini noodles but first read the tips in this post to make sure you don’t end up with soggy zoodles. Talk about the real nightmare before Christmas!
Start by bringing a large pot of salted water to a boil. In the meantime, add 8oz sweet Italian sausage and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to a large, 12″ skillet over heat that’s just a touch above medium. Brown the sausage, breaking it into big chunks as it cooks. I tested this recipe breaking the sausage down to the texture of ground beef and it was kind of strange texture-wise in the final dish. I liked being able to bite into big pieces.
Scoop the sausage onto a plate and set aside, then drop the pasta into the water to cook until it’s just a touch under al dente. Just a heads up, don’t drain the pasta cooking water after it’s done cooking – you’ll use it to create a thin sauce for the dish!
Next heat 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in the skillet then add 9oz shredded brussels sprouts (that’s 1 bag of the Green Giant brand pre-shredded sprouts,) 1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes (or more or less,) and salt and pepper. Saute until the sprouts are golden brown and tender, 3-4 minutes, then add 3 cloves minced garlic and saute for 1 more minute.
Last step is to use tongs to transfer the cooked pasta from the pot to the skillet, then add the cooked sausage, a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese. Add enough pasta cooking water to the skillet to melt the parmesan cheese and create a light, thin sauce.
Add a TON of freshly cracked black pepper then taste and add more salt if necessary, too. Swirl onto plates then top with more parmesan cheese before digging in. I hope you love this hearty, quick and easy weeknight pasta dish! Enjoy!
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Sausage, Brussels Sprouts and Parmesan Pasta
20 Minute Sausage, Brussels Sprouts and Parmesan Pasta will be on the table in no time. A filling and flavorful gluten-free dinner recipe!
- 1/2lb gluten-free spaghetti
- 8oz sweet Italian sausage (I like Johnsonville)
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil + a few drizzles
- 9oz shredded brussels sprouts
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes (or more or less)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Heat a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil in a large, 12” skillet over heat that’s just a touch above medium. Add sausage then brown, breaking it up as it cooks but taking care not to break the sausage up into too small of crumbles. Scoop sausage onto a plate then set aside.
- Drop pasta into salted, boiling water then cook until it’s just under al dente - pasta will continue to cook a little bit in the skillet later. DO NOT DRAIN PASTA WATER when pasta is done cooking.
- Meanwhile, heat 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in the skillet then add brussels sprouts and red chili pepper flakes, season with salt and pepper, then saute until the brussels sprout are tender, 3-4 minutes. Add garlic then saute for 1 more minute or until very fragrant.
- Using tongs, transfer spaghetti from pot to skillet then add parmesan cheese and cooked sausage. Add a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and enough pasta cooking water to help the parmesan cheese melt and evenly coat the pasta. Taste then season with salt and lots of freshly cracked black pepper, and then serve.
- I used one bag of Green Giant pre-shredded brussels sprouts for this recipe.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.