Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sausage Tomato Spinach Pasta

Once again, the dinner doldrums hit. That's why I love my google reader. I subscribe to a slew of food blogs and every so often one of them hits me with something that sounds yummy. This one came from epicurious. I always pay attention to the reviews listed as "most helpful" there because people often add good tips. 

I was really worried about this dish because it had a WHOLE ONION, and I was worried about being busted by John for serving him a meal with, not only onions, but spinach and tomatoes. But he didn't balk, went back for seconds, and sopped up the sauce with yummy bread - onions and all! (Shhhh! Don't tell!)

This came together really easily, with very few dishes to do at the end. Always a plus.

12 ounces pasta (we used little penne)
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds hot italian sausage (or whatever's in the pkg), casings removed
1 medium onion, diced (practically minced if you want to hide them like I do)
3-4 medium cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 package cherry tomatoes, cut in half (the tomatoes, not the package)*
1 bag spinach (I used 6 oz. baby spinach, but you could use more or use frozen if you want)
1 tsp dried basil
1 14 oz. can low sodium chicken broth (always Swanson's)
yummy bread to dip in the sauce

*These cherry tomatoes were so yummy and sweet that I wish I'd put maybe 2 packages in.

I find it's easier to do your prep work up front. Cut your tomatoes in half, chop your onion, press your garlic, remove the casings from the sausage, measure your basil into a little container, fill your pasta pot with water, and put the oil in the skillet (the largest you have, because eventually it'll all end up here).

Set your pasta water on to boil, and don't forget to add salt. I use about a teaspoon, but I never measure it. I just pour it in my hand.

Note: Put your spinach in the colander you'll use to drain the pasta. Then when you pour the hot pasta and water through, it'll cook the spinach just right! Once the pasta is ready, drain it and let it sit until it's ready to be added.

Heat your olive oil over medium to medium high. When it's getting hot, add your sausage, breaking it into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon. But don't make it as small as ground beef for tacos; you want to be able to have a nice big chunk to be able to stab.

After 5 minutes or so, when it seems about halfway cooked, add the onion and garlic. (See, isn't it nice that you had it all prepped and you don't have to abandon your sausage to chop?) Let that cook for 5-8 minutes, until the onion is nice and soft (and John can't see it anymore).

Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, and basil. Let this simmer over medium until it is reduced another 6 or 8 minutes. (Who times this stuff?) It'll still be pretty brothy, but that's good for sauce dipping.

Now add your pasta / spinach that's been sitting in the colander. Mix it all up and serve immediately!  Don't forget the bread. (We did, but we happened to have some yummy Pepperidge Farm Hearty White around for sandwiches and that did the trick.)

It was REALLY good! I can't wait to have the leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

1 comment:

  1. looks yummy, too. I've made a veggie version of a recipe close to this, using Boca Italian Sausages (I've tried other veggie sausages and this is the only one I like) and veggie broth. Also, I like to add black olives (and sometimes feta and/or roasted red peppers). thanks for the post.