Stovetop Macaroni with Chicken Sausage and Spinach

This is a nice, easy, light, weeknight-friendly, seasonally-transitioning dinner. The chicken sausage gives it the heartiness of a cold-weather comfort meal, while the use of a smaller pasta and no sauce keeps it lighter and springier. You could easily change out the pasta and add a little white wine sauce or marinara or pesto and change the whole thing up. But this is the basic version, and it’s perfect just the way it is (if you ask me). Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEEDmacsausspin1
* ~10oz small elbow macaroni pasta (I had a 32oz box, and used approximately a third of it for three people)
* 1 small sweet onion, diced
* olive oil
* 1 package sweet Italian-style precooked chicken sausage, sliced into rounds
* 2t minced garlic
* a few healthy handfuls baby spinach
* Himalayan pink salt (you can get this at Trader Joe’s!) or sea salt, to taste
* lemon pepper, to taste
* 1/4C sundried tomatoes in oil, drained
* ~1/4C grated Parmesan cheese
* fresh basil, for garnish

Boil water for pasta in a pot and cook the pasta to al dente. Drain almost completely, but reserve a tiny bit of the pasta water in the pot to keep the pasta from sticking (this will also help all of the other ingredients and flavors to stick to the macaroni when you combine everything later!).

While the macaroni is cooking, heat a little bit of olive oil, about a tablespoon, in a large high-sided skillet (I like this Cuisinart everyday pan – I actually use it almost every day – but anything like this works fine – so would a large pot) over medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens and becomes translucent. Don’t let it start to brown. Add the chicken sausage and cook another 5 minutes or so, stirring and turning occasionally to allow the slices to brown on both sides. Add the garlic and stir to combine.

Reduce heat to low. Add the cooked pasta to the pan, and again, stir to combine. Add in the spinach, a few handfuls at a time, and allow it to start to wilt by folding it in carefully with the contents of the pan. Add more as it wilts until you have a nice balance. Season lightly with salt and pepper, then add the sundried tomatoes and Parmesan and again, mix carefully to combine.

Cut the basil into ribbons to garnish and serve! Buon Appetito!


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