Friday, November 22, 2013

Creamy Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta with Chicken Sausage

This was the result of my most recent "dinner on the fly," episodes in my kitchen a couple weeks ago.  While I make a menu most of the time and try to stick to it, things inevitably get in the way (i.e., kids don't eat, go out, bring home pizza, etc.).

I grabbed this spinach and feta chicken sausage on a whim one afternoon of shopping and didn't really intend to use it that same night but ended up doing so because a) it wasn't frozen and b) my husband would be excited I was finally cooking some meat!  My dinners as of late have been pretty meatless.  My kids just aren't eating much these days, so I've been really trying to SIMPLIFY when it comes to dinner.  Now, I'll admit I went out and bought a box of Ramen because I was so fed up with them not eating what I made, but it was reserved only for when I was really desperate.  But they've been eating quesadillas, potatoes, eggs and toast, you know whatever that was at least semi-nutritious, to get by for the time being.

I was really pleased with how this pasta turned out.  It was pretty much finished in the time it took to cook the pasta.  That's a score on a busy weeknight!! It also reminds me of one of my faves, Chicken Milano, but with more Mediterranean flavors rather than Italian. Here's your next dinner on the fly.

Creamy Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta with Chicken Sausage
olive oil
1 package (about 12-16 oz) Spinach and Feta Chicken Sausage (such as Al Fresco brand)
1/4 cup sliced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup white cooking wine (optional)
1 cup half and half or heavy cream
1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled (can substitute feta)
8 oz. fettuccine or linguine
2 large handfuls of fresh baby spinach, chopped
fresh herbs for garnish
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
salt and pepper, to taste

Bring a large stock pot of salted water to a boil.  Drop pasta and cook according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a large chef's pan or other pan with high sides, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium high heat.  Slice sausage links on the bias and cook until browned on each side.  Remove to a plate.  Add another drizzle of olive oil, reduce the heat to medium and add the onions.  Saute about 7-10 minutes, until tender and just starting to brown.  Add the garlic at the last minute.  Return sausage to pan.  Add tomatoes, broth and cooking wine and let simmer until tomatoes are tender; about 5-7minutes.  Add cream and heat through then remove from heat.

Drain pasta and add to pan with sausage and cream sauce.  Toss with spinach and goat cheese.  Allow to stand for about 5 minutes, stirring to wilt the spinach and melt the goat cheese a bit. Salt and pepper, to taste.  Top with toasted pine nuts.  Serve warm.

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