Creamy Pesto Pasta (1 of 1)-13My son started Pre-K a little over a week ago and it’s been nothing but chaos.  Adjusting to a new sleep schedule, new school and entirely new routine has been a bit tolling on both of us.  As a result I’ve been slacking a bit in the kitchen – yes I know, this food blogger has been a bit off of her game.  Since I’m now up at the crack of dawn – 6 am to be exact, I’ve been tired throughout the day so my meals have been fairly quick as of lately.  Creamy Pesto Pasta (1 of 1)-3Don’t get me wrong, quick doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice on taste and Barilla Pronto Pasta, which takes just 10 minutes to prepare, is exactly that!   I love that there’s no draining involved so you can prepare an entire pasta dish in just one pot and it doesn’t sacrifice on taste; the pasta is perfectly cooked and al dente!  I mean what’s not to love about that? 20160811_151200I grabbed a box of Barilla Pronto Penne and pesto sauce from Walmart along with a few vegetables with the intention of making a quick meal.  For every box of Barilla® Pronto™ purchased at Walmart between 7/31/2016 and 10/31/2016, Barilla® will donate 10 meals to kids in need through No Kid Hungry, up to half-a-million meals.*  I love meals like this because it’s quick and the best part is it’s loved by the entire family, picky four year old included! Creamy Pesto Pasta (1 of 1)-4

To make this dish I browned the chicken sausage and vegetables before cooking the pasta in the same pot.  I used a combination of grape tomatoes, asparagus and zucchini but you can also use mushrooms or yellow squash.  Cooking the pasta in the same pot in which I browned the vegetables infuses some of the flavor left in the pan from the sausage and vegetables into the pasta as it cooks. Creamy Pesto Pasta (1 of 1)-7 The basil pesto has a combination of authentic Italian herbs and cheese that adds amazing flavor to this dish.  Even my picky son who dodges anything green loves this!  So not only is it a quick dinner but also its sure to please the entire family.

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Chicken Sausage and Vegetable Pasta

3 chicken Italian sausages

1 tbsp olive oil

2 zucchini cut in half lengthwise then into ¼ inch thick slices

½ bundle of asparagus cut into 2 inch pieces

½ pint grape tomatoes, halved

3 cups chicken broth

1-12 oz box Barilla Pronto Penne

½ cup milk

2 oz cream cheese

6.3 oz jar Barilla Traditional Pesto

½ tsp black pepper

Basil and grated Parmesan to garnish

In a wide heavy bottom pot, add olive oil.  Remove sausage from casing and place into hot oil and crumble into smaller pieces using a spoon.  When sausage is brown, remove from the pan and place onto a plate.  Next add zucchini and cook until brown on both side, about 6-8 minutes; remove from the pot and place onto a plate.  Next add the asparagus the same pot and stir fry for about 2 minutes until it becomes bright green; place on a plate.

Add Barilla Pronto Penne and 3 cups of chicken broth to the same pot and cook on high for 8 minutes.   Add milk and cream cheese and cook for an additional 2 minutes.  Once the cream cheese has melted, add the cooked chicken sausage, zucchini, asparagus, tomatoes, black pepper and pesto to the pasta and stir to combine.  Cook for an additional 2 minutes to warm the tomatoes, then remove from the heat.  Garnish with fresh basil and grated parmesan.

*$1.00 can provide a child 10 healthy meals. This amount is based on individual experiences of grant recipients. Contributions will be used to reach the highest number of children facing hunger in America. Share Our Strength is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization.