Pesto Pasta with Zucchini and Sausages

Do you ever feel like your week is never going to end and that you’re just going to drop dead at any time because of lack of sleep?  That’s how my entire beginning of the week felt like and it’s already almost Friday!  The near weekend has truly crept up on me and is a very relieving surprise. I’ve already made plans to be out and about the entire weekend until I have to go back to work on Monday.  I’m anxiously looking forward to hanging out without having to worry about school work.  Yeah… I’m a worried nerd, so what!

Although this week has been crazy, we had some great sun this past weekend up until Tuesday.  With all the sun we’ve been getting in San Francisco, I was feeling a little summer-ish and had the urge to make some pasta with veggies.  A couple of nights before, I was experimenting with some Thai dishes so I had a handful of basil sitting on the countertop screaming to be used and not wasted.  The vitamix was also sitting in the corner all lonely cause I haven’t shown it any love in a while so pesto it was going to be!  I was going to be at school all hours of the day and night for the next few days and figured I’d make a bunch of pasta so I wouldn’t receive any phone calls demanding for dinner.  The entire time I was making this, I was thinking of Wyatt cause he hates zucchini and I have a master plan to convert him.  I’m absolutely convinced that he’s only eaten zucchini cooked improperly since he claims they have a chalky texture which makes me think he’s eating some raw zucchini! Yuck. Now I understand,

This pasta is extremely easy to make and is great either hot or cold.  The pesto sauce can be made a day ahead. Doing so makes the pesto even more tasty when it’s time to eat! The part that took longest was roasting the garlic, but even that is easy – throw it into the oven and find someone to bother for an hour.  Also, who doesn’t like gourmet sausages?? Pan-frying the sausages caramalizes them and makes them slightly sweeter. The spiciness and sweetness of the sausages pair perfectly with the firm crispness of the zucchini and mildness of the roasted garlic in the pesto.

Serves about 6 depending how hungry the guy is.
Pesto
1 bulb garlic-roasted
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 C. fresh basil leaves
1/2 C. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 C. roasted salted almonds
1/2 C. grated parmesan
salt & pepper to taste

1 lb. pasta (I used fusilli wheat pasta)

Toppings

1 Tbsp. oil
4 spicy mango and jalapeno sausages or any other type – sliced diagonally into 1/2″ slices
salt
4 zucchinis – sliced into 1/2″ medallions
2 cloves garlic-minced
1/2 of a large onion – sliced
1 lb. mushrooms, sliced

Preheat oven to 350 F. Cut the top off of the garlic bulb so that the cloves of garlic are exposed and pour 1 Tbsp. of olive oil over it. Completely wrap the bulb with foil and bake for about an hour. The garlic should smell sweet and you should be able to press the garlic cloves out extremely easily.

In a food processor, add the basil, garlic, almonds, and about half of the extra virgin olive oil. Start blending everything, gradually adding the remaining oil. If you like a more watery pesto, add more oil. If you like a more thick pesto, use less oil. Stop blending every few seconds to check the consistency. Add the parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and blend for a few more seconds.

Cook pasta according to the instructions on its box. After the pasta is cooked, drain the water and immediately add pesto to the pasta and stir until the pasta is coated.

In the meantime, heat a large heavy skillet with oil on medium high heat. When the pan is hot, add the sliced sausages and flip them when undersides are brown and caramalized.

Put the sausages into a bowl and set aside, leaving the oil in the pan.

Now add the onions to the pan and cook until the edges start to get brown. Add garlic, zucchini, and sprinkle in a little bit of salt. After a few minutes, add the mushrooms and stir-fry until the zucchini is cooked. Add the sausages back into the pan and cook for another minute.

In your serving dish, add the pasta and top off with the sausage and zucchini mixture and sprinkle with some additional basil and grated parmesan!

Yum Yum!

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