July 8, 2014

Skinny Skillet with Turkey Sausage, Summer Vegetables & Gemelli

This savory summer skillet is satisfying, skinny and speedy.  Try saying that 5 times fast!  Turkey sausage is sauteed with fresh summer vegetables and then tossed with a little red wine, fat free milk, Parmesan, and gemelli pasta.  It's a delicious meal that is low in calories, low in fat, and ready in under 30 minutes.  That's pretty perfect for summer!

So, I've been holding fast to cooking with only organic ingredients.  I've also been trying to stick with non-GMO whenever possible.  Thankfully, we have stores like Whole Foods, Landis, and Target nearby that have a great variety of organic ingredients to choose from.  Trader Joe's is next on our list to try, so I'll keep you posted.  It has definitely been a fun and rewarding process.  As if food wasn't already always in the forefront of my mind, it has made me even more conscious about the ingredients that I'm using and the decisions that I'm making.  Yes, I've spent a little extra in grocery money, but I've actually seen some savings in it!  Instead of planning just my meals for the week, I'm also thinking about my husband's lunches.  So, instead of packing my husband the usual two days or so out of the week, I've been packing his lunch 100% of the time.  Ordering out for lunch can be so expensive!  Another savings that I can already see is with not wasting food.  Yes, we would try our hardest to not waste anything, but sometimes we'd find something way in the back of the fridge that would go unnoticed.  If I'm spending the extra cash on organic ingredients, I'll be darned if one crumb of our food goes to waste!

Fun Whole Foods Finds:  The mild turkey sausage used in this recipe is made fresh at Whole Foods.  It's $6.99/lb., but I only use 1/2 pound (two links) of it at a time, so it ended up costing $3.99 for this meal.  It has lovely hints of anise and fennel, and, even though it's labeled "mild", it has a little spicy kick to it that we just love.

Up close and personal:

Serves 4

  • 8 oz gemelli pasta
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil 
  • 1/2 c onion, minced 
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced 
  • 1/2 lb mild turkey sausage, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices 
  • 1/4 c dry red wine
  • 1 zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch thick rounds 
  • 1 c tomato, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped 
  • 1/4 c fat free milk
  • 1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper, or to taste 
  • 1/4 c reserved pasta water
  • Salt, to taste 
  • Pepper, to taste 


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the gemelli and cook until al dente.  Reserve 1/4 c of the pasta water.  Drain the cooked gemelli and set aside.  

Meanwhile, heat the avocado oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  When the skillet is hot, add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.  Add the turkey sausage and cook on both sides until brown, about 2 minutes per side.  Deglaze the pan with the red wine, scraping up the brown bits from the bottom.  Add the zucchini, tomato, basil, milk, Parmesan, and cayenne pepper.  Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Pour the cooked gemelli and reserved pasta water into the skillet and gently stir to combine.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Cook for 2 minutes longer.

Garnish with fresh basil.


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