This dish is the epitome of comfort food, but with some twists to make it lighter! It’s almost like the grown-up version of putting sliced hot dogs in your mac-n-cheese. The sauce is lighter than you’d expect since it’s made with Greek yogurt, it’s basically the Dijon version of my light “Alfredo” sauce from the Blacked Cajun Chicken with Light Fettuccine “Alfredo” recipe. This dish certainly isn’t light overall, but the Greek yogurt sauce is much lower calorie than a traditional cream based sauce, making this recipe something I’m happy to make a little more often. I almost always make this dish with turkey kielbasa, which has about half the calories and fat of classic kielbasa.
The whole thing comes together pretty quickly, making it perfect for a busy weeknight. You can cook the kielbasa and make the sauce while the pasta boils. Optionally, put the whole thing under the broiler in your oven to char the top before serving.
Key Tips – Tangy Dijon Penne with Charred Kielbasa
Use turkey kielbasa for a lighter dish.
- Feel free to use any variety of kielbasa or other similar precooked sausage. Turkey kielbasa has about half the calories and fat of classic kielbasa made from pork and beef, but is still super delicious!
- For the batch pictured, I used Hillshire Farms brand Turkey Kielbasa.
- When made with turkey kielbasa there are around 550 calories per serving.
Use fresh Parmesan cheese.
- This recipe relies on the Parmesan cheese melting nicely into the sauce. Unfortunately, pre-grated Parmesan cheese (the kind that comes in a can) may not melt down nicely, so try to grate the Parmesan yourself if possible.
Taste-test the Dijon sauce.
- I always make this recipe using 3 tbsp of Grey Poupon Country Coarse Ground Dijon, but if you’re using a different Dijon mustard you should taste test the sauce to make sure you use the perfect amount. If you substitute standard Dijon (that isn’t coarse ground or whole grain) you’ll probably need less than 3 tbsp.
Substitute whole milk Greek yogurt.
- If desired, this recipe can be made with whole milk yogurt instead of the non-fat variety called for in the recipe. This makes the recipe a little more rich!
Make it Gluten-Free
- Use gluten-free pasta. Chickpea pasta is my favorite GF variety!
A Note On Serving Sizes
Serving sizes are a very personal thing, making it very difficult for me to select a serving size that suits everyone. While this is listed as 4 servings, some people would prefer to have more than one serving. I typically serve this dish as 2-3 large dinner portions.
Tangy Dijon Penne with Charred Kielbasa
- 12-14 oz kielbasa thinly sliced
- 8 oz penne pasta or similar
- ½ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt 1 single serve container
- ¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese divided (canned parm may have problems melting into the sauce, use fresh if possible)
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 tbsp corn starch
- 2-3 tbsp coarse ground Dijon mustard I use Grey Poupon Country Dijon
- ½ tbsp freshly minced garlic
- fresh cracked black pepper
- olive oil
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions while completing the other steps. Drain and keep warm.
- Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the sliced kielbasa and cook, stirring occasionally, until it starts to brown and crisp, a few minutes per side. Remove from the pan to a paper towel lined plate, don’t wipe the pan clean.
- Reduce the heat of the pan slightly. Dissolve the corn starch in the chicken stock, then when fully combined, add to the pan (be careful, this may splatter with the remaining oil).
- Let the chicken stock mixture come to a simmer, then slowly whisk in the yogurt a few tablespoons at a time. Once combined and simmering again add the garlic, ½ cup of the parmesan, and the dijon (2 tbsp – 3 tbsp, adjust to taste based on how strong your dijon is and how strong you want it to be in the sauce – I use 3 tbsp). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to low until ready to use.
- Add the pasta to the skillet with the sauce and toss until its fully coated. Top with the sliced kielbasa, gently folding it into the pasta, then top with the remaining ¼ cup of Parmesan. Remove from heat.
- Optional – Place the dish under the broiler in your oven for 2-3 minutes, watching closely to make sure nothing burns. Make sure your skillet is oven-safe for this step! This melts the cheese and gets the top a little crispy. Serve immediately,
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