Monday, January 17, 2011

Pasta with Tomato, Sausage and Spinach


I almost thought this one was destined for the trash can.

When I pulled the spinach out of the refridgerator and realized most of it was a wilted mess, I was pretty sure I would be eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for dinner. Lucky for me, I managed to salvage just enough of the good leaves.

Then, because I used a regular stainless steel pan, the lean turkey sausage stuck to the bottom of the pan like glue and started to burn. I added a little extra oil and tried to turn down the heat a notch to keep it from burning, but it wasn't helping.

The browned bits were more like burnt bits. Things really weren't looking good.

I added the tomatoes — which helped — but the possibility of an edible meal still looked a little bleak. I'm not going to lie.

Then, came the pasta's cooking water. The browned.. er, burned bits came up with ease and the tomatoes helped create a decent-looking sauce. It was much darker than the photo accompanying the recipe, but then again when does it ever look exactly like the photo?

I added the spinach and the cheese and took a bite, hoping for the best.

And you know what? I wasn't bad. I almost would call it delicious. Maybe.

It may have not been the most successful dish, and I probably wouldn't have served it to guests. But it certainly wasn't headed for the trash can.

Next time, though, I think I'll go with fresh spinach and a nonstick pan.


Pasta with Tomato, Sausage and Spinach
Adapted from Cooking Light

1/2 pound short-cut pasta (I used orecchiette)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 links lean hot Italian turkey sausage (about 6 ounces)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved if large
salt and pepper
3 cups fresh baby spinach
Parmesan, for spinkling at the end

Cook the pasta according to package directions, reserving 2/3 cup of the cooking liquid at the end.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the casing from the sausage, then add the sausage to the pan, breaking it up as it cooks. Cook until browned — about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant about 30 seconds.

Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper; cover and cook 2 minutes. Mash the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon to break them up. Cover, reduce the heat to low and cook for 3 minutes.

Then, add the reserved liquid and the spinach, scraping up any browned bits with the wooden spoon. Cook until the spinach just starts to wilt. Sprinkle with Parmesan.

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