The Three-Ingredient Meal My Kids Beg For

published Mar 17, 2021
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Whenever I ask my kids if they have any dinner requests before I make our weekly menu, at least one of them will shout for “pesto pasta!” It’s one of those family recipes that has become a household staple, the kind of dish that I imagine they’ll always remember from their childhood. 

They obviously love it, and I do too because it’s something made from ingredients I can always have on hand. The best part is that there are only three of them! Pesto pasta is made with pasta, Italian sausage, and pesto. Nothing else. 

I get all three ingredients at Costco. I like to use pasta that “holds” on to the sausage and pesto, like shells or bowties. I get the sweet Italian sausage and the jar of Kirkland pesto. I usually use about two pounds of pasta per package of sausage and a few spoonfuls of pesto. It’s all adjustable based on your preference, of course. 

The key to making pesto pasta is browning the sausage out of its casing. This is also the most time-consuming part (which still doesn’t take much time at all). I use scissors to cut an opening along the length of the sausage and then just dump the meat into the pan. I brown the sausage while the water for the pasta is boiling and then I mix the two together, along with the pesto. 

Image credit: Shifrah Combiths

Not only is it a good throw-together meal for the family, but it’s also a great crowd-pleaser. Kids love it, adults love it, and it’s so easy to scale up for larger gatherings. I once made a giant bowl for a Fourth of July party and it fed thirty people! 

Aside from my kids having a soft spot for the meal, the thing I find the most heartwarming is that it seems to have gotten kind of famous among some of my kids’ friends. I’ve made it for dinner during birthday sleepovers and others have had it just because they happened to be over when I made it — and they ask me if they can have it again. 

Just last week, during a socially distanced visit with one of my son’s good buddies, the friend said, “Mrs. Combiths, when the pandemic is over and we can go inside each other’s houses again, can I come over and have some of that special pasta?” I melted. If that’s what one little boy remembers from the before times and looks forward to in the after times, I will make mounds of it. Pesto pasta forever.