This recipe has all of the hallmarks of a
good great recipe - it's all cooked in one pot (you don't even need to boil the pasta!!), it's quick, easy and cheap, AND it involves sausage. Win-win!
Seriously, though, this is a great way to use up those half-full opened boxes of pasta in the pantry. I ALWAYS have onion and garlic on hand since I use them so frequently, and I usually have several cans of diced tomatoes in the pantry as well. I always have tons of chicken stock in the freezer, thanks to my habit of ALWAYS making slow-cooker stock from leftover rotisserie carcasses, and I almost always have bags of spinach in the fridge since I love sauteed spinach as a side dish. Today, I even had some smoked sausage in the freezer after stocking up a while back on a B1G1 sale. All I had to buy was the cheese.
You'll notice that this is a creamy pasta, yet there's no cream or milk in this dish at all. There's more than enough liquid from the canned tomatoes and chicken stock, and the creaminess all comes from gooey, melted Monterey Jack. Spinach adds a nice bit of greenery and nutrients, and offsets the sausage really well. My prep took only about 5 minutes, and, with cooking, this meal was on the table in just under 30 minutes. Take THAT, Rachael Ray!
Creamy Smoked Sausage & Spinach Pasta
adapted from Budget Bytes
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 beef smoked sausage, sliced thinly into rounds
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can mild diced tomatoes with chilies, undrained (you can substitute plain diced tomatoes, too!)
2 cups chicken broth
8 oz pasta
3 cups fresh spinach
8oz Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the smoked sausage and saute about 5-6 minutes or until browned. Drain the excess fat.
Add the diced onion to the pan and saute for 5 minutes or until the onion has softened. Add the canned tomatoes with chilies. Add the chicken broth and deglaze the pan.
Add the dry pasta to the skillet, stirring to make sure the pasta is completely submerged by liquid (if not, add more chicken broth or water). Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes or until the pasta is tender, uncovering only to stir once or twice during cooking.
Stir in the spinach, one cup at a time, until wilted. Once wilted, sprinkle the shredded cheese on top, cover, and let cook for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese has melted.