One Pot Sausage, Spinach, and Parmesan Pasta

I took a break from Try It Tuesday after my second son was born. Originally, I had written a few articles in advance of his arrival, but adding a newborn to a household with a preschooler was more challenging than I anticipated. I didn’t end up posting any of them. Now, three months later, I feel like I’m almost ready to get back into the swing of things. Over the next few weeks, I’ll use the articles I wrote for immediately following the baby’s arrival, then I’ll start doing new ones. I prepared this meal and article back in December 2016 and I’ve made the recipe a few times since then. 

I have seen recipes for one-pot pastas and been skeptical. I worried that they would be less flavorful than those with rich sauces. I also worried that my husband wouldn’t eat it. When it comes to pasta, he is a red-sauce-or-nothing kind of guy. However, when I looked over the recipe that inspired my version of this dish, I saw many of the ingredients in the sausage, kale, and tortellini soup we love; so I finally took the plunge. To be fair, I had also forgotten to plan anything for dinner this past Sunday, didn’t feel like a grocery run, and had everything I needed for the recipe in the house.

The original recipe can be found here: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/256570/one-pot-italian-sausage-kale-pasta/

 My version is below:

Ingredients

8 ounces short pasta like penne, ziti, macaroni, etc.

8 ounced breakfast or sweet Italian turkey sausage (I actually added a little extra sausage to mine.)

1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes with garlic (I use no salt added.)

1 bag fresh baby spinach, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

4-5 garlic cloves, pressed or minced

1 ½ teaspoons Italian seasoning

¾ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

4 cups water

Parmesan cheese (for topping)

Directions

Cook the sausage in a skillet and drain any grease. Put all ingredients into a large pot and stir. Bring to a rolling boil, then continue cooking for 10-12 minutes. Most of the water should be absorbed by the pasta or evaporated. Be sure to stir regularly throughout cooking to avoid having the pasta cook onto the bottom of your pot.

Remove from the heat. Allow the pasta to sit for five minutes before serving. Top with a generous amount of parmesan cheese.

My husband began dinner by teasing me about the lack of red sauce and how frequently I’d been experimenting with new recipes recently. It’s true I’ve been going beyond my once weekly, Try It Tuesday agreement, but in my defense, this is so that I don’t have to cook when I’m recovering from the C-section in a few weeks. The teasing stopped after a few bites, however. My husband followed up with a, “I really like this,” and even added, “This may be better than that tortellini soup.” Victory!

I thoroughly enjoyed this dish, too. Not only is it easy to throw together, but it smells and tastes great. The red pepper flakes add a nice touch of heat to the dish. I also appreciated how the pasta stayed firmer than I expected, though not quite al dente. I may experiment with adding a little less water and having a shorter cook time. If you like a bit more life in your veggies, wait until five or six minutes have passed before adding the spinach – or use kale like the original recipe does. All in all, this one’s a winner, though!

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