Weight & Wellness

J.T's Elbows

I developed this recipe for a young client who loves sausage and hates (or so he thinks) vegetables and whole wheat anything.  Well, this whole wheat pasta dish is full of vegetables, light on sausage, and he loves it!  As in the pasta with beans recipe, this pasta is cooked right in the sauce.  Very easy, very good, very nutritious.  You may eliminate the sausage or substitute about 1/2 lb. ground grass-fed beef - if you do, try adding 1/2 tsp. crushed fennel seeds to approximate the sausage flavor.


1 lb. small whole wheat pasta, elbows, shells, tubettine, etc.

extra virgin olive oil

one link Italian sausage with fennel - hot or sweet, preferably without hormones or antibiotics

1 small onion - diced

1 small bell pepper - diced

1/4 head green cabbage - coarsely chopped

4 cloves garlic - thinly sliced or chopped

1 heaping Tbl. tomato paste

4 - 5 grape or cherry tomatoes quartered or one beefsteak tomato - diced

1/4 C. white wine or white vermouth

1 qt.  chicken or vegetable broth

1 large stalk broccoli - stems diced, flowerettes separated, large ones halved

1/4 C. half and half (look for Natural by Nature, it's grass-fed)

(a few shakes of turmeric and hot pepper flakes)

a handful of fresh parsley - stems finely chopped -  separate from chopped leaves

a handful of basil leaves - torn

salt and pepper to taste (easy on the salt, please)

freshly grated pecorino or parmesan


Remove sausage from casing.

Crumble and brown in deep 12" pan with a lid.  When sausage is browned, remove from pan and drain fat.

Add a healthy splash of extra virgin olive oil to the pan, stir in the peppers, let soften a minute or two, then stir in the onions.  Let the peppers and onions acquire some color, then add the garlic, parsley stems and cooked sausage.

Let the garlic become nice and fragrant, then stir in the tomato paste and the fresh tomatoes.  Stir around a bit, add the white wine.  Bring the wine to a boil, then add the chopped cabbage and the broth.

Let the cabbage soften about five minutes, then stir in the pasta, broccoli, turmeric and hot pepper (if using).  If the pasta seems too dry while it's cooking, just add a little water or more broth.

Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until pasta is al dente - about five minutes.  When pasta is al dente, stir in half and half, parsley leaves, basil, lots of black pepper and salt, if necessary (remember the cheese is salty).  Let the pasta absorb the half and half a bit (you can add more if the pasta seems dry), then give a generous coating of grated cheese and serve - yes, straight from the pan!

I hope you like J.T's Elbows as much as he does...


Keep up the good work J.T.!