This is one of those dishes, that I used what I had around. I bought the sausage to grill along with burgers, that didn't happen; only the burgers made it to the grill. The shrimp was on sale, not that it was bad, it was the special of the week. I was going to turn it into shrimp cocktail; only to realize that I was out of cocktail sauce. And as for the broccolini, I was suppose to saute it with onions and garlic as a side dish to go with baked chicken. Meh! What a bore!
If you're wondering, what is broccolini? It's a hybrid between broccoli and chinese kale. A must try! And that's coming from someone who doesn't particularly like broccoli. I'll take broccolini over broccoli any time.
Thank goodness for the menu changes, bumps in the road...whatever you want to call it. Because I came up with this yummy pasta dish!
1 teaspoon + 1/4 teaspoon house seasoning (1 cup salt, 1/4 cup black pepper, 1/4 cup garlic powder)
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
2 turkey sausages, casings removed
6 ounces penne pasta
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 lemon, zested
1/2 lemon, juiced (up to 1 lemon if needed)
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 cup pasta water, divided
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, season to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat a large pot of boiling salted water.
<roasting the vegetables & shrimp>
Toss the broccolini, onions, 1 teaspoon house seasoning and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large baking sheet pan, breaking up the onions.
Spread evenly on the pan, set aside.
Toss the shrimp in 1/4 teaspoon house seasoning and 1 teaspoon olive oil in a small baking sheet pan; spread out on the pan.
Roast vegetables at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.
Roast shrimp at 400 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes or until shrimp turns to white/pinkish/opaque in color.
Remove from the oven and set aside.
<cooking the pasta>
Add the pasta to the boiling salted water.
Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, edible but still firm.
Drain and reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, aka pasta water.
<cooking the sausage>
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet pan over medium-high heat.
Add the sausage, breaking up the meat and cook for about 5 minutes.
Turn heat to medium.
<assembling the dish>
Add the broccolini, onions, shrimp, cooked pasta to the large skillet pan with the sausage crumbles.
Add the cayenne pepper, lemon juice, lemon zest, parmesan cheese and 1/4 cuppasta water.
Toss until thoroughly combined.
Add more pasta water for the consistency you desire.
Season with salt and pepper.
When buying shrimp, buy by the count and not by the size. The count is the number you can expect in a pound. For example, you'll see on the label it will say 21/25 which means you can expect between 21 to 25 pieces of shrimp in a pound.
If you decide to buy 16/20 or 10/15 count shrimp, you'll need to cook it for a little longer. And vice versa. If you buy 26/30 or 31/35 count shrimp, you'll need to cook it for a little less time.
Don't overcook the broccolini, it'll lose it's vibrant color and crunch factor. You want it tender but not soggy.
You can use any kind of sausage, such as Italian hot or sweet; or chicken sausage. It's up to you. I used turkey sausage with feta cheese, pistachios and dried cranberries.
Depending on the ripeness of the lemon, start with half a lemon for juice and then squeeze more juice out of it if needed.