This is not your typical Italian Carbonara. Unlike traditional Carbonara that uses fettuccini or spaghetti pasta, this dish uses penne. The combination of the chicken breasts with the hot turkey sausage packs a palate pleasing robust flavor punch. I also use thyme instead of parsley – just because I love thyme and I think it has a great taste – parsley is kinda flavorless. Sorry parsley!
This dish was inspired by World Renowned Chef, Jamie Oliver who showcased a five ingredient version on the Today Show. The vision for my recipe was born while I was doing my morning Elliptical run – yes, I do think pasta when I run and I try to use healther pastas like the Protein Plus penne used in this recipe.
This amazing dish comes together in under forty five minutes. I was so happy when I tested this dish the first time – not only were the reviews awesome, but -J- came home early from work right in the nick of time. For a late Tuesday afternoon, this was definitely a sexy and delicious date all wrapped up in one.
I encourage you to make this dish and serve it up with a great glass of Chardonnay or your favorite wine. Thanks.
Penne Carbonara with Chicken and Sausage
- 1 pound penne pasta (Protein Plus)
- 1 tablespoon salt (used to salt the pasta water)
- 4 quarts water (for cooking the pasta)
- (Reserve one cup of the cooked pasta water)
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless thin cut chicken breasts
- 1 pound hot turkey sausage
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper (2 teaspoons for coating the sausage)
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme chopped
- 4 cloves fresh garlic crushed
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 3 large eggs
- 1 pound asparagus
- 5 ounces baby organic spinach
Rinse the chicken breasts and pat dry with paper towel. Season chicken with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Set Aside.
Remove the thin skin from the turkey sausage. Place the sausage in a medium bowl and use your fingers to combine. Make 12 sausage balls. In a plate, add the 2 teaspoons black pepper. Roll each sausage ball in the black pepper. Set Aside.
Note: The pepper does not have to coat all the sides – but do use the full 2 teaspoons.
For the asparagus, use 2 inches of the tip part – cut into 1 inch pieces.
Note: Reserve the remaining asparagus parts for any use you deem fit.
In a medium bowl, beat the three eggs. Add the fresh grated parmesan and use a fork to combine. Set aside.
Cook the pasta. Over high heat bring 4 quarts water and the 1 tablespoon salt to a boil. Cook the pasta al dente according to package directions – usually about 11 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of the cooked pasta water.
Begin cooking the chicken, once you start heating the pasta water.
Heat 2 tablespoon olive oil in a large non-stick pan, over high heat. Once the oil is nice and hot, add two to three pieces of the chicken breast – cook 3 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and set aside for two minutes before slicing each piece into strips about 1/2 inch width.
In the same pan, cook the sausage meatballs for 10 to 12 minutes until all sides are nicely browned and cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside.
In the same pan, add the asparagus tips and cook for two minutes. Add the spinach and wilt for one to two minutes.
Add back all the cooked ingredients to the pan, except the pasta. Add the garlic and thyme. Stir to coat the meats and vegetables.
Add the pasta to the pan along with half cup of the reserved hot pasta water. Stir to incorporate all the ingredients.
Note: Add up to the cup of reserved pasta water if you want the pasta to be more saucy.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the egg, parmesan cheese mixture. Stir quickly to coat the pasta mixture.
Plate and serve while still hot. Add a sunnyside egg on top of each plating if you desire. Enjoy.
For this recipe you can use either a fettuccini or spaghetti pasta and you can also use mild or sweet sausage.