This a great dish for a hearty, last-minute meal. I bought the sausage at a local market ( The Market Basket) that makes its own. The sausage is nicely spiced, so I knew that I wouldn’t have to do much in the way of thinking about flavors. If all you can find is commercial sausage, add a bit of bite with some extra red pepper flakes and maybe some anise. The butter and ½ & ½ smooth out the spiciness and the saltiness of the sausage, so even finicky eaters will like this dish.
Pasta With Spicy Sausage And Spinach
1.5 lbs. spicy Italian sausage, casing removed
2 oz. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced fine
6 oz. white wine
10 oz. fresh spinach, washed, and stems removed
6 oz. ½ & ½
1 oz. unsalted butter
4 oz. Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 lb. pasta (I used shells, but any ½- to 1-inch shape would work well)
Boil a large pot of salted water for the pasta.
Heat the oil in a large sauté pan on medium-high heat. Cut the sausage into ¼- to ½-inch pieces and then sauté until the sausage is cooked through and lightly browned. Remove the sausage from the pan, leaving the fat and the oil (now would be a good time to put the pasta in the boiling water). Turn the heat down and add the garlic. Cook for a few minutes and then add the wine. De-glaze the pan on high heat, making sure to scrape all of the little bits of sausage and garlic into the liquid. When it has reduced a bit, add the spinach and cover until the spinach has wilted completely. It won’t take long, so don’t walk away for another glass of wine. It is a little disconcerting how little spinach is left, but it is enough to flavor the dish. Turn the heat down to medium and add the ½ & ½ and the butter. Swirl the sauce around until it thickens a bit more and the butter is completely incorporated. Put the sausage back into the pan, and when it is reheated, dump it over the pasta. Toss the pasta into the sauce as you sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the whole thing, and serve hot.