If I made a list of things I did in October, it would look a little something something like this:
1. Accidentally got a job. And started that new job on the exact same day that Jason started his new job. (No, that week wasn’t challenging.)
2. Clocked in a week’s worth of 12+ hour days.
3. Ate a lot of Subway for dinner.
4. Made exactly three things that were blog-worthy but ate two of them immediately because it was easier than charging my camera battery pack.
So now that we’ve had a couple of weeks to get used to our new routine of slightly-organized chaos, I can share that one recipe with you. It’s going into a new recipe category that my friend Marianne has named “Shit You Probably Have in Your Kitchen.” We’re going to go with the more efficient “Pantry Staples.”
I’ve been making this pasta dish for about 2 years now and it has seen many, many iterations. It has gotten a TexMex makeover with Rotel and poblano chicken sausage. It’s easy to give it an Italian and a Greek-ish spin. What I haven’t done with it yet? Screw it up.
It’s just one of those recipes. You almost can’t break it. And the best part, besides being completely delicious and filling? Dinner is on the table in under 30 minutes in the form of a hearty, creamy bowl of pasta cooked with canned tomatoes, dried herbs, a bag of spinach, and a pack of someone-else-cooked-it=for-you sausage.
Creamy Sausage and Spinach Pasta
A quick and hearty pasta dinner using pantry and fridge staples.
- 12 oz dry pasta
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced (~3/4 cup chopped)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Black pepper
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken stock/broth
- 14 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 12 oz cooked sausage links, sliced into thin rounds
- 3 oz bag fresh spinach**
- 8 oz mascarpone or neufchatel cheese (cut the neufchatel into blocks)**
- Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
- * Or, you know, the 1/3 of the bag that's left and about to get sketchy if you don't use it tonight.
- **In an emergency, I found that neufchatel (aka 1/3 fat cream cheese) worked just fine but required a little more reserved pasta water to thin out the sauce.
- Bring salted water to boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water before draining. While the pasta is cooking, make the sauce.
- Heat olive oil over medium-high heat and cook the onions for ~5 minutes, until just beginning to brown.
- Add the garlic and oregano and cook for 1 minute more.
- Add the wine/chicken stock and stir, scraping any bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Add salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and the undrained can of tomatoes. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat a bit and simmer for 8-10 minutes.
- Add the sausage and spinach to the pan and cover for ~3 minutes to wilt the spinach.
- Add the mascarpone to the pan by the spoonful or drop in the neufchatel blocks.
- Stir until the cheese has melted into a creamy sauce.
- Add the pasta and toss until evenly coated. Add a few splashes of pasta water at a time to thin the sauce.
- Serve topped with grated Parmesan cheese.
Yields: 6 servings
Estimated time: 25 minutes