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Sausage & Penne Pasta

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I had some Italian sausage that I needed to cook, and so I began to rummage through my refrigerator. I found fresh spinach, cremini mushrooms and a red pepper that needed to be cooked-- or it would go to waste. Before I knew it, I made a pasta dish that was slammin' good! I've never seen my husband dig in to a pasta dish, like he did this one. Did I mention it took about 45 minutes from start to finish?

I had to quickly write this recipe down, so that I could create it again.

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Rate this recipe 4.3/5 (3 Votes)

Ingredients

  • 1 bag penne pasta
  • 3-4 Italian sausage (I used mild, but hot would be good)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 8-12 ounces cremini mushrooms (these are baby portobellos, sliced about 1/4" thick
  • 1/4 cup red wine (optional)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (optional, but great)
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning (combo of dried oregano, thyme, basil & rosemary)
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, more if you like a lot of spice, less if you are using hot Italian sausage
  • 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (I buy mine in a tube)
  • 1 bunch fresh spinach, washed and roughly chopped
  • olive oil
  • 1 pat of butter

Details

Servings 8
Adapted from afeastfortheeyes.net

Preparation

Step 1

In a little bit of olive oil, in a large and deep skillet or Dutch Oven, cook the Italian sausage until no longer pink. Push the sausage aside, and cook the onion and bell pepper until tender.

Add the minced garlic, until fragrant-- about 30 seconds.

Mix the sausage and vegetables together.
Add the Italian seasoning blend, crushing it with the hands to release the flavor better.

Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, red pepper flakes and wine (if using), cover and bring to a low simmer.

Cook the penne pasta, according to package directions, in salted water until al dente. Drain.

In a separate skillet, heat a little olive oil (about 1 tsp) and a pat of butter on medium high heat. Saute the mushrooms until lightly browned-- about 10 minutes total. Add to the sauce.

To the same skillet, add a little olive oil (about 1 tsp) and the butter, and add one whole garlic clove.
Add the spinach, which will look like a LOT-- but it will wilt down. Season with a little kosher salt & fresh cracked pepper-- go easy, and taste it so you don't over salt. On medium heat, cook the spinach for about 3-5 minutes.

Drain the pasta and return it to the pasta pot.

Add the cooked/wilted spinach on top, discard the whole garlic clove.
Add the heavy cream to the pasta sauce, and then pour the pasta sauce all over and mix everything together. Season with more salt or red pepper flakes, if desired-- to your own personal taste.

Serve with fresh grated Parmesan Cheese.

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