Quick & Healthy High Protein Pasta Recipe

Quick & Healthy High Protein Pasta Recipe

I've been making this pasta dish, adapted from one of Giada's cookbooks I have, for a few years. This version is super healthy, high in protein and hits all four of the food groups. Grab some fruit for dessert and you won't feel guilty about the ice cream you have before bed! {Please tell me it's not just me who justifies a late night bowl of ice cream like that...}

I love the creaminess the ricotta adds. Go for a higher quality brand in both the ricotta and shredded cheese for the richest taste. I'm also a big fan of a lot of salt in the pasta water in this recipe, too. If you want a little kick, feel free to sprinkle in some crushed red pepper too. Leftovers are great but you may need to add a tablespoon or so of milk or cream to achieve the same texture after re-heating.

Ricotta And Sweet Pea Rigatoni with Sausage
16 oz. rigatoni pasta
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 package Jennie-O hot Italian turkey sausage
16 oz. frozen peas
8 oz. good quality ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded parmesan or asiago cheese

Boil a large pot of salted water and add pasta. Cook to your preference, but it's best if not cooked too long. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water before draining and adding the pasta back to the pot (remove from heat).

While the pasta cooks, heat olive oil in a medium sized skillet. Add garlic and cook a minute or two. While garlic is cooking, remove casings from the Italian turkey sausage. When garlic is fragrant, add the sausage and use a wooden spoon or spatula to break it into small chunks. Once the sausage is finished, move it over to one side of the skillet. At this point you can spoon out some of the fat rendered in the empty half of the skillet if you'd like. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. Be sure to leave a little though, it adds to the flavor and helps the other ingredients stick.

While sausage is browning empty the peas into a colander and run tap water over them until any ice melts. Add them to the empty side of the skillet and stir for a minute or two to warm them up. Then use your spoon or spatula to gently crush a good bit of them.

Add sausage, peas and ricotta to the pasta. Stir and add the reserved pasta water as needed to make the sauce creamy. Add salt, pepper and shredded cheese before stirring again.