Monday, October 1, 2012

Creamy White Bean and Chicken Sausage Pasta

I'm so glad it's fall!  And can you believe it's already October?  That mean's Halloween is just around the corner, cooler weather and lots of holiday cheer for months to come.  I absolutely love this time of year.  It's my favorite.

One of my most favorite things about fall is the FOOD.  I love not only eating but also making warm, comforting food that makes my belly full and happy.  The great thing about this dish is that it delivers all that plus it's healthy too (minus the bacon). I'm not usually a leftover person, but I ate this for the next two days after I made it, it was that delicious.

Creamy White Bean and Chicken Sausage Pasta
2 cups whole wheat pasta shells
1/2 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 roasted red pepper chopped
1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans
1 Tbsp. butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 can lite coconut milk (or 1 cup full-fat coconut milk plus 1 cup water)
1/2 cup almond milk (not vanilla flavored!)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 lb Chicken Sausage (omit dried apples), cooked and crumbled*
4 cups fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
10-12 fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

*This dish comes together pretty quickly, but to make even more effective use of your time, make and cook the sausage ahead of time.  Keep it warm while you're making the rest of the dish.

Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions.

While pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium-low heat.  Drizzle a bit of olive oil in the pan  and add onions, tossing to coat. Cook for 5-7 minutes, until softened and translucent.  Stir in the garlic the last 30 seconds or so, then toss in the red pepper, beans and chicken sausage.

When pasta is done cooking, drain and add to the skillet with the rest of the ingredients.  Keep it on low while you make the sauce.

In a small saucepan, melt butter.  Whisk in flour.  When it starts to bubble, cook for about a minute.  Whisk in both milks, then bring the mixture to a boil; stirring constantly. Let simmer about 5 minutes, until it thickens a bit.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Remove the bean and pasta mixture off the heat and pour in the sauce, tossing to coat.  Stir in the bacon and spinach and let sit about 5 minute.  The sauce will slightly thicken and get absorbed by the pasta and the spinach will begin to wilt. Toss in the tomatoes and fresh basil at the last minute, right before serving.  Garnish with parmesan cheese.



SOURCE: Adapted from How Sweet It Is

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