This is a Pinterest find that was on my dinner radar, and I finally made it this week. We started eating and my 11 year old immediately said, "This is going to be my birthday dinner!" It was very easy to make, and you can do a lot of different things with it, like add veggies or use a different protein. Since this was my first time trying the recipe, I followed the directions exactly and used turkey sausage. I had a hard time deciding on what sausage to buy, and went with the healthy option. :) The cayenne in the sauce is definitely noticeable, but next time, I think I will try a spicy sausage. My husband also suggested the addition of bacon on top, so I'll try that next time as well and post an update. UPDATE: Bacon is amazing, but I'm sure we all knew that. :)
Spicy Smoked Sausage Alfredo Bake
adapted from letsdishrecipes.com
16 oz dry pasta
3 TBSPs butter
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
3 TBSPs flour
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups half and half
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese, divided
1-2 TBSPs chopped fresh parsley
1 pkg (12 oz) fully cooked smoked sausage, any variety
3 slices, cooked crumbled bacon (optional)
1. Cook pasta according to package directions until just al dente; drain.
2. While pasta cooks, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Stir in flour.
3. Whisk in chicken broth until smooth, then stir in half and half.
4. Add salt, pepper, cayenne, and red pepper flakes and simmer until sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes.
5. Stir in Parmesan cheese and 1 cup of mozzarella until cheeses are melted and smooth.
6. Slice sausage into 1/4 inch pieces and add to the sauce, along with the chopped parsley and cooked pasta. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
7. Preheat broiler. Pour the pasta mixture into a lightly greased, 9x13 inch baking dish. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese, and bacon (if desired).
8. Broil for 2-3 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and golden.