Pesto Penne with Grilled Italian Sausage

Pesto Penne with Grilled Italian Sausage

4 Sweet Italian pork sausages
1 lb Penne Pasta
Pesto Sauce:
4 cups fresh basil leaves (from about 3 large bunches)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup+ pine nuts
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup+ freshly grated Asiago cheese
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt (to taste)
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Classic Basil Pesto recipePesto:

Combine basil, olive oil, pine nuts, and garlic in blender or food processor. Blend until paste forms, stopping often to push down basil. Add both cheeses; blend until smooth, adding salt a little at a time, to taste.

Transfer to bowl. (If you’re making your pesto more than a hour in advance, top it with 1/2 inch olive oil before chilling.

Preheat the grill on medium heat, and start water heating for pasta.

Grilling Italian Sausages

Photo by Byron Ohler. Used with permission.

Grill the sausages until slightly browned and marked with grill marks. You can grill some thinly buttered slices of Italian bread, as well.

By the way, if you’re enjoying this recipe, please subscribe to our free newsletter! We’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each Friday. Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk kids.


Cook the pasta according to the package directions on the box, then drain. Be sure to read our Tips for Perfect Pasta!

Return the drained pasta to the pot. Toss with pesto sauce and lemon juice. If the pesto is too thick for your liking, add a small amount of the hot pasta water and re-toss.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve pasta in bowls with Italian sausages.

Optional (but a good idea) sprinkle the finished dish with a little extra toasted pine nuts, asiago cheese, and freshly chopped Italian parsley.

Serve and enjoy.

-Chef Perry