Light pasta, sausage hit the spot

October 10, 2012 

Beans are paired with pasta in this one-dish, Italian-style meal. The sauce for the White Bean and Sausage Linguine is a light white sauce with only a little cream; it takes its flavor and texture from the fresh herbs and vegetables.

I used an Italian-style turkey sausage flavored with fennel.

I prefer the smaller Great Northern beans for this recipe. Small cannellini beans also work well, but can be hard to find.

A fresh, ripe tomato with Parmesan cheese and chives makes a colorful side dish. Since only a small amount of Parmesan is needed, I like to buy the best quality. Look for Parmigiano-Reggiano stenciled on the rind; that means it has been aged at least two years, producing a melt-in-your-mouth texture.

This meal has 651 calories per serving with 19 percent of calories from fat.


Wine suggestion: This dish, more savory than spicy, would go nicely with a rich and silky pinot blanc.

Substitutions: Any type of low-fat sausage can be used. Minced garlic can be found in the produce department. If fresh basil is unavailable, use fresh rosemary or thyme.

Save time: The fastest way to chop chives is to cut them with scissors.

To buy: 1 medium red bell pepper, 1 small bunch celery, 1 small package low-fat turkey sausage, 1 small package fresh linguine, one 15.8-ounce can Great Northern beans, 1 jar crushed red pepper flakes, 1 small carton light cream, 1 small bunch fresh basil, 1 small bunch fresh chives, 1 small piece Parmesan cheese, 1 package frozen chopped onion and 1 large tomato.

Staples: Fat-free, low-salt chicken broth; minced garlic; salt and black peppercorns.

White Bean and Sausage Linguine 1 cup fat-free, low-salt chicken broth

1 cup frozen diced onion

1/2 medium red bell pepper, sliced (1 cup)

1 stalk celery, sliced (1/2 cup)

1/2 pound low-fat turkey sausage, sliced

1/4 pound fresh linguine

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 cup canned Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon light cream

1/2 cup fresh basil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place large saucepan with 3 to 4 quarts water on to boil for the pasta. Heat 1/4 cup chicken broth in a medium-size nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, red bell pepper, celery and sausage. Saute 10 minutes. If vegetables start to burn, add another 1/4 cup broth.

Add linguine to boiling water. Boil 3 minutes or according to package instructions, if using dry instead of fresh linguine.

Meanwhile, add garlic, beans, pepper flakes and remaining broth to skillet and saute 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and add cream and basil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drain pasta and toss with sauce. Serve.

Nutrition information per serving: 617 calories (18 percent from fat), 12.5 g fat (3.5 g saturated, 3.2 g monounsaturated), 89 mg cholesterol, 42.1 g protein, 83.9 g carbohydrates, 11.6 g fiber, 1,001 mg sodium. Parmesan Tomatoes

1 large ripe tomato

1 tablespoon grated Parmesan

1/4 cup fresh chives, snipped with scissors

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Wash and slice tomatoes and layer them on a serving plate. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese and then chives. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Nutrition information per serving: 34 calories (26 percent from fat), 1.0 g fat (0.5 g saturated, 0.3 g monounsaturated), 2 mg cholesterol, 2.2 g protein, 5.1 g carbohydrates, 1.7 g fiber, 44 mg sodium.

Makes 2 servings Linda Gassenheimer is the author of 14 cookbooks including “The Flavors of the Florida Keys” and “Mix ’n’ Match Meals in Minutes for People with Diabetes.” Go to or email

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