Creamy Skillet Penne with Sausage and Broccoli

serves 6

1 pound hot or sweet Italian sausage, casings removed

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

1 large red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into thin strips

8 ounces penne pasta

3 medium garlic cloves, finely minced

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

1 cup white wine

2 cups chicken stock

3/4 cup heavy cream

8 ounces broccoli florets, cut into 1-inch pieces

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a large non-stick skillet, cook the sausage over medium-high heat, breaking up the pieces with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon transfer the sausage to a paper towel lined plate, reserving the fat in the pan.

Add the onion and bell pepper to the fat in the skillet and cook until softened, about 8 minutes.  Add the penne and cook, stirring often, until the pasta is lightly toasted, about 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and pepper flakes if using and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir in the wine, stock, cream, and drained sausage and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pasta begins to soften, about 8-10 minutes.

Remove the lid and arrange the broccoli on top of the pasta and cook, covered, until broccoli is bright green and tender and pasta is al dente, about 8 minutes.  Remove from the heat, stir in the cheese, herbs, and vinegar.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve.  Enjoy!

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