Sunday, January 15, 2012

Pasta with sausage, roasted garlic and spinach

We like to call this little number "The Staple".  Michael created the staple a few years ago when he was living by himself and needed a quick, easy and delicious meal after work. The original staple is made with bow tie pasta, or "farfalle", and onions, garlic and spinach sautéed in olive oil. That's the basic staple. We eat it about once a week and either have the original or a variation on the theme. When we need more protein we add some white beans and sautéed mushrooms. Sometimes we throw some tomato sauce in. When it gets really crazy we open the fridge and the cupboards and ask ourselves: "what will go bad if we don't use it within the next day or so?" and "can we really put this in the staple?" We've used zucchini, green and red bell peppers, kale, scallions, fresh tomatoes, etc.

Today Michael and I went for a run around 1:30pm and we hadn't eaten lunch and were starving when we got back so I decided to make the staple. It's quick, it's easy and it's a good way to clean out the fridge as we start a new week. We had leftover apple sage sausage I had pulled from the freezer to use for our Friday night pizza, white beans in the freezer and we had the option of bringing all this together with some tomato sauce. I decided to get fancy and roast the garlic but usually we just crush it or mince it and cook it up with the onions.

Here's the recipe for today's version of the staple.


1 16 oz. bag of pasta, any shape (today we used spirals)
2 Tbs or so of olive oil
1 onion, chopped
a few cloves roasted garlic, chopped
1 container of mushrooms, sliced
1 bag of spinach
1/4 recipe apple sage sausage
1 can white beans, rinsed (or a baggie from your freezer!)
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce (or however much you'd like to use- you don't even have to add any)

1. Get your pot of water ready for the pasta. Be sure to use a large pot so the pasta has room to cook. I usually add a pinch of salt and maybe a bit of olive oil. When the water is boiling add the pasta, give it a stir and cook for the time indicated on the bag or box. 

2. While your pasta water heats up, heat 2 Tbs olive oil on medium to medium high in a large skillet pan. Sauté the onions (and garlic if not roasting it) until almost translucent. 

3. Add the chopped mushrooms and cook until they are softened. Add whatever spices you'd like and cook for another minute or so. I love to add tarragon- it's my favorite spice- but today with all the other flavors we decided to just go with what else was in the dish.

4. Add the spinach in small bunches, stirring to make sure it is wilting from the heat of the pan. Don't worry if it doesn't cook down right away, just keep adding it in handfuls and cooking it down until you get the amount you'd like in there.

5. When the spinach is wilted add the sausage and break it up into pieces as you stir it into the veggies.

6. Add the beans and continue stirring until everything is heated through.

7. By now your pasta should be drained. Put a splash of olive oil into the bottom of the pasta pot and place the noodles back in the pot. Add the tomato sauce if using and gently fold the veggie and sausage mixture into the pasta. 

8. Serve hot. Add cracked black pepper or salt to taste. Or try it with homemade vegan parmesan cheese!

At this point your house will smell like an Italian restaurant. Enjoy with a glass of red wine and kick back and relax! I know this was good today because Michael had 3 helpings and he jumped up to do the dishes when we were done eating!

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