This will go down in history as my first every recipe post! It will include two separate recipes, as I often make the pasta without the Brussels sprouts or vice versa. “Kielpasta,” as I’m sure you can figure out, is short for kielbasa pasta. It’s a super easy weeknight meal that’s fairly customizable to your family’s preferences and what you have on hand. Im fact, the only reason we had it this week was was that a massive snowstorm came through Green Bay and I decided groceries could wait until driving was less treacherous. After a quick dig through the refrigerator, and remembering that I wanted to make something that could be reheated if needed during my upcoming call weekend, I quickly decided that kielpasta would fit the bill.
The only necessary ingredients are a medium sized pasta (penne, farfalle, and rigatoni all work well), kielbasa, sliced onions, olive oil, and minced garlic. I generally add bell pepper, and if I have mushrooms or zucchini they make a nice addition. Interestingly, my boys claim to hate peppers and onions, but they love this dish. They may pick around the larger pieces of peppers, but they’re always excited when I put it on the table.
The roasted Brussels sprouts (are you supposed to capitalize that? I’ve always wondered) are another family favorite. Do you think you don’t care for the vegetable? Do you have bad childhood memories of your mother forcing you to eat them after steaming them beyond all recognition? If so, this recipe will be life changing for you. They’re a perfect salty-crunchy on the outside with an airy tender middle. My kids loudly ask me to pick some up whenever we’re at the grocery store. If you ever want to feel superior to the other parents at your local supermarket, learn to make these sprouts. Like I said, life changing! They don’t require any interaction after you put them in the oven, so they work well either with a roasted meat for a “set and forget” meal, or with something that requires your focus like the kielpasta I made here.
If you do decide to make both dishes together like I often do, start by preheating your oven and seasoning the sprouts in your baking pan. Get them out of the way, then start prepping your meat and veggies for the pasta. Listen for the beep, put them in the oven, and that’s a good reminder to put your pasta water on to boil. Timing is everything when you’re trying to feed a hungry family quickly after a long day at work, or to squeeze a meal in before practice.
One of the things I would really like to do with this blog is categorize recipes not only by meal and protein, but also by whether or not they can easily be reheated or repurposed. Kielpasta reheats wonderfully. One pound of pasta as given in the recipe makes 6-8 servings for my family, but my boys are only three and seven. If you have a house full of teenagers, it also doubles well. I’ll often make it on a weeknight that isn’t too busy, and then have the leftovers on hand to reheat a few nights later when either I’m on call or one of the boys has an activity.
“Kielpasta” (Kielbasa Pasta)
- 1 lb dried medium-sized pasta (penne, farfalle/bowtie)
- 1 lb kielbasa (pre-cooked), sliced into 1/4″ thick coins
- 1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 2 bell peppers, preferably different colors, sliced
- 8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced optional
- 1 diced zucchini, green or yellow optional
- 1.5 Tbsp garlic, freshly minced (3-4 large cloves)
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil more to taste
- 2 Tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1 Tbsp minced fresh oregano (or 1 tsp dried)
- 1 Tbsp minced fresh basil optional
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Turn large pot of water on high to boil. Once boiling, salt water and add pasta. Cook according to package directions and drain, reserving 1/2c pasta water.
- Turn large sauté pan to medium heat. Once hot, drizzle 1 T olive oil in pan. Wait 30 seconds and add sliced kielbasa. Sauté until nice color is achieved. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Drizzle 1 T olive oil in pan. Wait 30 seconds and add sliced onion. Sauté while stirring occasionally for approximately one minute. Add sliced bell peppers along with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Sauté for two minutes and push onions and peppers towards edges of pan. Add mushrooms if using. Sauté until slightly tender, approximately five minutes. Add zucchini if using and salt again to taste. Saute three minutes or until zucchini are tender.
- Add kielbasa back to pan with sautéed vegetables. Turn heat down to low. Add garlic and herbs, stir for 30 seconds. Taste and season again.
- Add 1/4 c pasta water to sauté pan, more if needed. Stir. Add cooked, drained noodles to pan and mix ingredients well. Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese, taste one more time, and serve.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- 1.5 lb brussels sprouts, whole or halved preferably whole small sprouts, less than 3/4″ diameter
- 2 Tbsp neutral oil such as grapeseed
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg, ground or grated
- Juice from 1/2 lemon, freshly squeezed optional
- extra virgin olive oil, drizzle
- Preheat oven to 450 F.
- Drizzle large 9×13 baking dish with oil. Add sprouts after halving any that are overly large. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic, and nutmeg. Squeeze lemon juice over the top, if using.
- Place pan in the oven to roast. After 20 min remove and shake to redistribute, return to oven. Roast an additional 10-20 min, depending on size of sprouts. Outer layer should be dark brown and crisp, but not black.
- Drizzle with olive oil, taste, add additional salt and pepper to taste, and serve.