Around 4:30pm the kids start raiding the pantry and refrigerator drawers. This happens Every. Single. Day. No matter how many snacks I give them or how many times I tell them that dinner is in the oven, they are overcome with extreme munchies and simply can’t wait another 30 minutes until dinner. So I need meals that are quick and hearty; something that will fill their bellies with more than granola bars, apple slices, and string cheese. Kielbasa Basil Pasta is super easy and versatile. It can be made as a simple sauce or turned into a one-pot wonder. It also involves kid-friendly tasks that can keep my rascals occupied rather than binging on goldfish. Let me show you how to make it:
This here is my sous chef, Nevaeh. She loves to help me in the kitchen. I try to give her simple tasks (like the noodle job) that help her feel valuable in the kitchen. Kielbasa basil pasta is a great recipe that kids can help with or even make on their own. In a few more years, I bet she’ll be making me dinner!
Begin this 30 minute meal by boiling the water to prepare your noodles. You can have the noodles cooking at the same time you prepare the sauce so that you save time in the kitchen. Any kind of noodles are fine, but I prefer elbow, rotini, or penne for pasta bakes because they fit easily in the pan.
It is also helpful to prepare your meat and veggies ahead of time. Mise en place makes cooking so much easier. When done correctly, cooking should feel like a well-crafted song. You are the conductor and the ingredients are your orchestra. Together you create a beautiful dish that is delicious and well timed. Having everything in place ahead time helps make that happen.
So prep your meat, veggies, and utensils. This kielbasa is from Omaha Steaks and is made of part pork and part beef. There are all beef versions and all pork versions so any combination you find will be fine. I cut the kielbasa diagonally.
Mince some fresh bail, about 1/4 cup. Also, dice up a medium-sized onion.
So your noodles are cooking.
Your meat and veggies are cut.
Now it’s time to conduct your orchestra!
In a large cast iron skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of light olive oil and saute the diced onion. Cook the onion until it is brown on the edges, about 5 minutes. Then add a tablespoon of minced garlic and saute it for another minute. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, use your largest saute pan.
Add in the kielbasa you cut earlier and heat it for about 4-5 minutes or until it begins to brown. Sprinkle on a pinch of Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Now grab a 24 oz jar of your favorite marinara sauce. Pictured above is a mason jar of the homemade marinara I made from the tomatoes I grew last summer. I grew a total of 5 plants that went bazerk! I canned 18 pints of spaghetti sauce and so many jars of salsa that I lost count. It was a great first season and I can’t wait to do it again! This year I want to add at least two more tomato plants so I can stock my pantry for an entire winter.
Add the marinara and half of the basil to the kielbasa.
Continue to heat it for another 2-3 minutes or until it begins to bubble. When that happens, stir in 1/2 cup of light sour cream and turn the heat to low. The sour cream gives a nice creamy texture. It is reminiscent of lasagna without the piles of cheese.
At this point, the kielbasa basil sauce is done and all you have to do is spoon it over your favorite type of noodles. Add the remaining basil to the top.
But some nights I like to change things up and turn the kielbasa into a pasta bake. I simply add my cooked noodles to the sauce, stir them up, and sprinkle mozzarella, parmesan, and basil on top. I put the entire cast iron skillet into a 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes, or just until the cheese melts.
Pasta bakes are so versatile and easy. Add whatever kind of pasta, meat, and veggies you like and BAM! dinner’s done. It’s a great way to use up leftovers in the fridge. I make another 30 Minute One-Pot Pasta Bake with ground beef, spinach, and diced tomatoes. I also have a bunch of other easy dinners on my Recipe Index and Pinterest Boards. Check them out and share them if you have a chance! Happy cooking y’all!
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- 4 Kielbasa links cut in 1 inch diagonal pieces
- Kosher salt and pepper to taste
- 24 oz marinara sauce
- ¼ cup minced basil, divided
- ½ cup light sour cream
- 8-10 oz prepared pasta noodles, like elbow, rotini, or penne
- Optional: ¼ cup mozzarella and ¼ cup grated parmesan to top pasta bake
- Prepare noodles according to package instructions.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Dice veggies and kielbasa.
- Heat oil in cast iron skillet and saute onion for 5 minutes or until brown.
- Add garlic and cook 1 minute.
- Add kielbasa and heat 4-5 minutes or until browned. Stir regularly.
- Pour in marinara and half of the basil. Cook 2-3 minutes or until bubbly.
- Add sour cream and turn heat to low. Stir continuously until creamy and bubbling.
- Put in noodles and stir to combine. Top with optional cheeses.
- Bake at 350 for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Top with remaining basil.
- Serve immediately.