Sometimes the simple recipes are the best. Comforting and delicious, this straightforward recipe is easy to prepare,  versatile, and healthy.  For the many Moms out there who read this blog, this is a “sneaky” way to get a huge helping of vegetables into the kids – who love this recipe.  

Penne with Spinach & Sausage

1 pound Penne  
16 oz. package baby spinach
4 links, sweet Italian sausage
1 box Pomi Crushed Tomatoes
1 onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, diced
10 cherry tomatoes, halved

Begin by grilling the sausages until they’re cooked and setting aside to cool.  You can also brown them indoors if the weather isn’t cooperating.  

In a pan large enough to hold the finished pasta,  saute the onion and garlic in a bit of extra virgin olive oil until the onions soften and the garlic is fragrant.  Then add the tomatoes, half of the cut cherry tomatoes,  season with salt and pepper,  and reduce to simmer for 15-20 minutes.  

~ Here’s the basic tomato sauce at this point ~

While the pasta cooks in the water,  slice the reserved sausage into quarters. Add to the pan and allow to cook and meld flavors, about 10 minutes.   Just before the pasta is done,  add all of the spinach and stir through so that it wilts. 

~ Here the spinach has just been added.  It may look like a lot but it will wilt to almost nothing so use the entire package ~

~ Here you can see the sausage has been added and the spinach is wilting considerably ~

Finally,  drain the pasta and add to the pan with the sauce.  Stir through and if it looks dry, you can splash a little olive oil into the pan or add some of the pasta cooking water if you were smart enough to reserve some!  (hint hint)  Right before serving,  add the remaining cherry tomatoes and stir through.  They’ll just barely soften and they make for a nice textural difference against the cooked sauce.  

~ The Chef’s Plate ~

Versatility.  Don’t like spinach?  Use Arugula or baby Kale?   Use Turkey Sausage if you want it even healthier.  Use spicy sausage.  Add red pepper flakes for a substantial kick.  And of course, you could vary the pasta shape. 

Wine pairing?   As I mentioned last week,  we enjoyed this with the latest offering from Capitoni.  Perfetto!  

~ 80% Sangiovese and 20% Merlot:  Perfect pairing.  You can see the sausage reserved in this photo ~

Cin Cin!

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