This dish, which is featured in Giada’s Kitchen by Giada de Laurentiis, is actually in the “Not Just for Kids” section of her cookbook because of the small noodle shape. However, I thought that if I switched out mild Italian turkey sausage for spicy Italian (pork!) sausage and maybe some red pepper flakes, it would be more grown up.
The verdict: the dish was fairly flavorful but something was missing. Maybe next time I’ll add more garlic and more fresh herbs. Luckily this dish is very adaptable and can be easily changed without compromising anything. It did keep well for leftovers for lunch and dinner for a few days which is why I made it. I would definitely try this dish for kids who enjoy pasta!
Note: I used spicy Italian pork sausage (pork > turkey) and plum tomatoes (that’s what I had).
How to make Orzo with Sausage, Peppers, and Tomatoes
Yield: 4 servings
3 cups chicken broth
1 pound orzo pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 links (7 ounces total) mild Italian turkey sausage, castings removed
1 garlic clove, minced
2 jarred roasted red bell peppers, cut in 1/4 inch strips
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
In a large saucepan, bring the chicken broth and 3 cups of water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes.
While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the turkey sausage and saute until cooked through, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the bell peppers, tomatoes, and red pepper flakes (if using) to the pan and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.
Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, and transfer it to a large serving bowl. Add the sausage mixture, 1 tablespoon of the parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss well to combine, adding the reserved cooking liquid if needed to loosen the pasta. Top with the Parmesan and sprinkle with remaining parsley.
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