Thursday, September 15, 2011

A warm pasta toss makes the heart smile

As summer turns to fall, the weather gets cooler and the days get shorter. We reach to backs of our closets for the sweaters and blankets that we packed away last spring. What better way to usher in the new season than with this warm pasta toss with spinach and sausage! It's hearty yet fresh, and it takes advantage of some of the late summer's in-season produce.

I found this recipe near the top of my mom's folder for pasta/rice dishes. I don't know how old it is or where it came from, but I definitely remember twirling forkfuls of leftovers into bowl after bowl way over a decade ago. I used veggie sausages, and it turned out just as delicious as I remember it being.

Warm pasta toss with spinach and sausage
Serves 6 (no really, it does!)

1/3 cup vegetable or olive oil
1/2 lb (250g) sweet or spice Italian sausages, about 3 (I used Yves Sweet Italian Veggie Sausages)
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp crushed dried chilies
1 lb (500g) fettuccine or linguine (I used whole grain linguine)
1/2 lb (250 g) fresh spinach (I used a mix of spinach and arugula)
3 tbsp red-wine vinegar
2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 red onion, half finely sliced & half finely chopped
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions, or until al dente. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large pan. Add sausage and cook over medium heat until lightly browned. Stir in remaining oil, garlic, and herbs. Reduce heat to low and simmer until sausages are cooked.

Slice sausages into bite-sized pieces and set aside. Scrape pan drippings into a large bowl, and whisk in vinegar. Add drained pasta and mix well.

Add remaining ingredients (sliced sausages, tomatoes, red bell pepper, onion, spinach, and Parmesan) to warm pasta, and toss. Serve warm or as a cold salad. Either way, this dish is delicious, nutritious, and incredibly satisfying!

Photographs copyright © 2011 Jasmine Habart.

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