Penne with Green Bean Ricotta Sauce and Sausage

September 8, 2009  •  Meat & Poultry, One Dish Meals, Pasta & Pizza

I know what you’re thinking – how can anything this gross looking possibly taste good? If I hadn’t included the green beans next to the pasta it would have even looked worse, trust me!
Well, while working out and watching Tyler Florence make a Puglia feast (how cool is that? Puglia is where I’m taking 7 women next year for a culinary adventure in Italy!), I got an idea. He made a bruschetta that was topped with a puree of green veggies and ricotta and it inspired me.

I’ve been getting a lot of green beans from the farm, but I’m not a huge green bean fan on their own (unless they are slathered in a special herb butter or topped with lots of crispy pancetta), but I hate to waste the food I get. So I started by snipping the ends of the beans and blanching them for about 5 minutes in boiling salted water.

I had this Italian sausage from a local farmer in the freezer so I browned that up in a skillet while the beans were blanching.

When you add sausage to a skillet, it wants to all stick together – make sure you use a wooden spoon to keep breaking it up and stirring it…

…until it loses all of that pink color and is completely cooked through. Ever notice how unappetizing photos of meat are? Ever wonder who had the great idea to eat it?! While the sausage was continuing to cook I put a garlic clove, the green beans, ricotta cheese, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper into the food processor and let it rip until it it’s smooth…

…then mixed that together with the cooked sausage. You really can’t believe I’m showing you these photos, can you?! I know it looks really disgusting, but it tastes absolutely delicious! Toss the whole thing with the cooked pasta and dig in – really good, I promise, and also a great way to sneak green veggies into your kids’ diet!
Penne with Green Bean Ricotta Sauce and Sausage
Serves 4-6
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 pound Italian sausage, ground
1 clove garlic
2 cups green beans, cooked very al dente
2 cups ricotta cheese, part skim milk
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
8 ounces penne pasta, cooked al dente, cooking water reserved
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add sausage and cook until browned and completely cooked through, using a wooden spoon to break up the pieces as it cooks. Drain excess fat. Place garlic clove in the food processor and whirl until minced; add green beans and ricotta and blend until smooth. Add olive oil and salt and pepper to taste and whirl to combine. Toss cooked penne pasta with sausage and sauce, adding reserved pasta water as necessary to thin the sauce.


One Comment  •  Comments Feed

  1. Kevin says:

    I like the sound of using green beans like this. It is kind of like a meat version of a green bean pesto.

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