Pesto Rotini with Peas and Sausage

This is more than just a loaded recipe title, my friends.  This is a meal-time masterpiece.

Self-congratulatory, much?  Yeah, hi.

I've been in the mood lately to get more creative (read: less recipe-dependent) in my approach to cooking dinner.  You could say I'm starting to formulate recipes with a little more confidence (read: less fear of hurting anyone). 

Usually, my weekly dinner-planning routine includes perusing the most recent issues of cooking magazines, scanning my favorite food blogs, and drawing upon my mom's no-fail hand-me-downs.

But sometimes you just need to clean out the damn fridge. 

Mine contains lots of random items that could probably be used in some sort of efficient manner, yet I found myself completely clueless on where to even begin.  Here-in lies my constant Type A mind-battle, which typically manifests itself (of all places) at the mall. 

I start out with the best intentions.  "I have a gift card!  Free money!  So many choices.  This is the best day of my life."  But soon, the pressure of getting the most bang for my free buck takes full control. 

I start doubting myself.  Pure self-judgement yells:  "Why, exactly, are we avoiding anything with color?  You have a million and one of those already!  Yeah, that uniform back in the day doesn't seem so horrendous anymore, now does it?"

An hour later, I still have an armful of clothes with no clear picture of how I want to put them together.  I've wandered 20 laps around the store amidst the bewildered, sideways glances of the store employees who are wondering what in the heck is wrong with me, and I've probably broken a sweat.  I end up leaving empty-handed, cursing my inability to make any decisions at all. 

(I fear my husband has one up on me here.  At least he can decide 5 minutes into a shopping trip that he gives up.) 

Wait, what?  I thought we were talking about dinner.

While my example may be a slight exaggeration,  it's certainly true that too many choices and lack of explicit directions sometimes make it difficult for me to make decisions.  And now you understand why I'm super proud of dinner tonight.  It's the product of a successful refrigerator clean-up (and my self-judgement screaming "get it together lady!"). 

For this recipe I used a cool idea for oil-free pesto.  This stuff is a delicious, easy, and super healthy take on a traditionally oil-laden sauce.  I threw in some healthy and bright peas for a pop of color, and turkey sausage so that my husband can't call it vegetarian.  This came together very quickly, and the taste was pretty delicious.

Serve with pasta and throw yourself a party!

Cook's Note (See, I get to leave one of these 'cause I'm the cook on this one!): You can find miso paste in the organic section of your grocery store.  This was my first time using the stuff, and I inadvertently bought black miso.  Turns out, black miso takes on the slight resemblance of, well, poop.  I recommend buying white miso for this pesto if you're serving company (or picky kids).  This lets the herbs and peas really stand out against the pasta. 

Pesto Rotini with Peas and Sausage
a Type A Kitchen original recipe
inspired by Eat Live Run

2 cups fresh basil
1 cup fresh parsley
3 garlic cloves
1/4 c panko bread crumbs
3 tbs white miso
Cracked black pepper
1/4 c water (more or less depending on how thick you like it)
1 lb whole wheat rotini pasta, uncooked
1 lb turkey sausage, casings removed
1 cup frozen peas, thawed

Combine the basil, parsley, garlic, bread crumbs, miso, and cracked black pepper in the bowl of a food processor.  No salt is generally needed because the miso is very salty.  Pulse to chop, and then blend until smooth.  Add the water a little at a time, blending until smooth and loose.  Set aside.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions.  Drain, reserving a cup of the starchy pasta water, and set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, coated with cooking spray.  When hot, add the sausage and break it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks, approximately 6-8 minutes. 

When the sausage is brown and cooked through, add the peas and cook 3 minutes, stirring often.

Add the cooked pasta to the skillet, combining with the sausage and peas.  Lower the heat, pour in the pesto, and stir to combine.  Add the reserved pasta water, 1/4 cup at a time, until a sauce is formed and the pasta mixture is coated. 

Top with grated parmesan cheese, and pat yourself on the back.

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