Sausage, cheese make dish above ‘par’mesan

All of my friends who are avid crafters seem to have drawers full of leftovers and remnants from their many projects—buttons, fabrics, partial bottles of glue, etc.

That’s how my pantry looks most of the time. Partial boxes, bottles and containers of ingredients I purchased to try a new recipe litter the shelves.

I was thankful for the recipe I tried this week, then, because not only did it look quick and yummy, but I could use up two, sad half boxes of pasta as well as a bunch of fresh parsley I had sitting in the fridge.

I found this week’s recipe on the blog “Let’s Dish.” You can find it at https://www.letsdishrecipes.com/2014/10/spicy-smoked-sausage-alfredo-bake.html. I adjusted some of the steps in the original to make fewer dishes and added some extra spices.

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Smoked Sausage Alfredo Bake

Ingredients

16 ounces pasta

3 tablespoons butter

5 to 6 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons flour

1 cup chicken broth

2 cups milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 rounded teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 rounded teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

2 cups mozzarella

4 tablespoons fresh (or dry) parsley, chopped

12 ounces fully cooked smoked sausage

Directions

Cook the pasta according to package directions and drain.

In an oven-safe, large pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Saute the garlic for a couple minutes until it starts to smell really good and is very slightly browned. Stir in the flour, making sure to soak up all of the butter. Let it cook for about a minute to cook out the flour flavor.

Whisk in the chicken broth, milk, salt, pepper, cayenne and red pepper flakes. Keep stirring over medium heat until the mixture thickens a bit.

Add in the Parmesan and one cup of the mozzarella and stir until the cheese is fully melted.

Cut the sausage into about half-inch slices and add it, along with the pasta and parsley to the pan with the sauce.

Preheat the broiler in your oven.

Sprinkle the second cup of mozzarella over the top of the pasta.

Place the pan under the broiler for a few minutes until the cheese on top is melted and is starting to brown slightly.

Let the pasta cool a bit before serving.

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This has a nice little kick to it that I really liked, but it would be super easy to eliminate the cayenne and red pepper flakes if that’s not your style. You could also toss in some dried oregano and basil.

It also made a lot of pasta, which was great for leftovers the rest of the week. And, most importantly, there’s now a very small empty spot on my pantry shelf. I was kind of proud of myself for finally using some ingredients up—although I’m sure the area will be filled soon enough.

Lindsey Young is managing editor of The Clarion, the Kansas Publishing Ventures newspaper in Andale. She can be reached at lindseyclarion@gmail.com.