Monday, October 25, 2010

Recipe for Penne Pasta with Spicy Italian Sausage, Mushrooms, and Spinach

Penne Pasta with Spicy Italian Sausage, Mushrooms, and SpinachI loved this Penne Pasta with Spicy Italian Sausage, Mushrooms, and Spinach, but I didn't love the photo, and I was seriously considering it making it again to try for a better picture. Then today everyone on Twitter was talking about World Pasta Day and me having a pasta dish that I could actually post on World Pasta Day felt like a sign from the universe. Plus, it did taste fantastic, even if it wasn't that photogenic. I shared the leftovers with my neighbors Mike and Jenny and they gave it two thumbs up too, so apparently it reheats well. If you like Italian sausage, spinach, and pasta, make this tasty but homely pasta dish, and I'm betting you'll like it!

The original recipe was submitted by Russell Ito to Bon Appetit and featured in the October 1998 issue. In case you're wondering how I could make a pasta dish like this South Beach Diet friendly, I used low-carb Dreamfield's pasta and also reduced the amount of pasta in proportion to the other ingredients. I also used low-fat sausage and a lighter cheese and reduced the amount of cheese (although when I told Jenny that, she confirmed that it was plenty cheesy even with less cheese.)

I had just enough spinach left to make this, and I crisped it in cold water at the same time I started the pasta water cooking. (You may not need to do this if your spinach is fresh and already washed!)

I used Hot Turkey Italian Sausage, so I browned it to cook the sausage, then sliced it and browned the slices again. (You could also use precooked chicken or turkey sausage. Next time I would cut the sausage in round slices for smaller pieces.)

Cook pasta in boiling salted water until just barely al-dente (exactly 9 minutes for Dreamfield's pasta, but check the package for cooking time if you're using something else.)

After you remove sausages from the pan, add a bit more oil and saute the mushrooms for 3-4 minutes, until they are starting to release their liquid; then add the red onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes and saute about 5-6 minutes more, until mushrooms are lightly browned and onions are cooked.

Put sausage back into the pan, add the chicken stock and simmer 2-3 minutes, or until sausage is hot.

Then add the spinach all at once, tossing with the hot sausages, mushrooms, and onions until the spinach wilts, about 2-3 minutes.

Add the pasta and both kinds of cheese and toss until the cheese melts and coats the pasta, about 2-3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper and serve.

Penne Pasta with Spicy Italian Sausage, Mushrooms, and Spinach
(Makes 4-6 servings, original recipe by Russel Ito and featured in Bon Appetit October 1998.

3 links (3/4 pound) hot turkey Italian sausage (or use pre-cooked chicken or turkey sausage of your choice)
2-3 T olive oil (depending on the pan and whether you use pre-cooked sausage)
3/4 lb. thickly sliced mushrooms (I used regular white mushrooms, but Crimini mushrooms would be good in this)
1/2 red onion, cut into thin slivers
5 cloves finely minced garlic
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
10 oz. baby spinach leaves
1 1/4 cup chicken stock (I used homemade chicken stock, but you can use canned chicken broth)
1/2 lb. (2 cups dry) penne pasta (use Dreamfields or whole wheat penne for the South Beach Diet)
1 cup low-fat mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (plus a little more for serving if desired)
salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste

Fill a medium-sized pot with water, add a generous amount of salt and bring to a boil to cook the pasta. Wash spinach if needed and spin dry or dry with paper towels.

If using raw turkey Italian sausage like I did, heat about 2 tsp. olive oil in large heavy skillet, add sausages and cook until they are firm and well browned. Let sausage cool, then slice in rounds and brown again, adding a bit more oil if needed. (If you use pre-cooked turkey or chicken sausage, just slice and brown the sausage.)

As soon as pasta water boils, add the pasta, stir, reduce heat to a low boil and cook just until pasta is al-dente. This was exactly 9 minutes for the Dreamfield's pasta I used, but check package for cooking time. Drain cooked pasta in a colander placed in the sink.

While pasta cooks slice mushrooms and red onions and mince garlic. Remove browned sausage to a bowl, add a little more oil to the pan and add mushrooms, cooking 3-4 minutes or until they start to release liquid. Add the red onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes and cook about 5-6 minutes more, or until mushrooms are lightly browned and onions are cooked.

Put sausage back into the pan with the mushrooms and onions, add the stock and cook 2-3 minutes, or until the sausage is hot. Then add the spinach all at once, tossing with the hot mushrooms-sausage mixture until the spinach wilts, about 2-3 minutes.

Add the drained pasta and both kinds of cheese and toss until the cheese melts and coats the pasta, about 2-3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper and serve hot, with more Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on at the table if desired.

Printer Friendly Recipe

South Beach Suggestions:
If you're making this for the South Beach Diet, it's important to use Dreamfields or whole wheat penne, low-fat mozzarella, and low-fat turkey or chicken sausage. With those cautions, this recipe would be suitable for phase 2 or 3 of the South Beach Diet. I'd have a small portion with a salad or some vegetables for phase 2 and save a larger portion of pasta for phase 3.  (Edit June 2011 - I have recently learned that if Dreamfields pasta is cooked for a long time or reheated it increases the glycemic index, so this recipe is probably only for phase 3 if reheated.)

More Tasty Pasta Dishes with Dreamfields Low-Carb Pasta:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Macaroni and Cheese With a Grown-Up Twist from Kalyn's Kitchen
Baked Penne with Sausage from Kalyn's Kitchen
Tex-Mex Penne from The Perfect Pantry
Slow Roasted Tomato Macaroni and Cheese from The Perfect Pantry
Spaghetti and Parmesan Meatballs from Kayotic Kitchen
Cod Sauce for Pasta with Tomatoes and Garlic from Stephen Cooks
Baked Pasta with Ham, Tomatoes, and Peas from A Veggie Venture
Sausage, Butternut Squash, and Asparagus Pasta from Jersey Bites
Caprese Penne Pasta Salad from This Mama Cooks
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)counter customizable free hit


Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Oh, yes, this is my kind of pasta dish! Dreamfield's has really made it possible for me to enjoy pasta, and I'm so glad I learned about it right here on Kalyn's Kitchen.

Kalyn said...

Thanks Lydia. It was tasty, even if the photo is rather dreadful. And I do love that Dreamfields!

Healthy and Homemade said...

This sounds good for all the rainy weather we've been having!

Kalyn said...

It was definitely comfort food!

Tom Colvin said...

One of my favorite recipes is Penne & Sausage in Bourbon Cream Sauce. I first take sausage out of casing and saute. The sauce, of course, is the secret:

heat heavy cream
mix in some tomato paste
add parmesan cheese
add brandy to taste

Mix all together and enjoy!

LimeCake said...

what a colourful pasta! it looks really delicious!

Joanne said...

Pasta always looks delicious to me so I wouldn't worry too much about it! Love the sausage in has to be one of my favorite pasta additions!

Beth M said...

Ooooh, looks delicious and I LOVE your new header image for fall :D

Debbie said...

What do you mean? I think the pasta in this photo looks reealllllyyyy good! It's only 7:00 am and I want to eat that right now! :)

Nataša said...

My first comment on your great blog! I really like it and enjoy reading it regularly... Concerning this recipe - I thought it is not recommended to re-heat spinach as it becomes toxic that way... Or is my information incorrect?

Useful Books said...

Hey, man food! Can't wait to make it for my husband. He's doing so well on SB. --Cindy

Kalyn said...

Tom, I'm sure that's delicious (but heavy cream and brandy would make it not really suitable for the South Beach Diet in case anyone is wondering!)

LimeCake, thank you; glad it appeals to you.

Joanne, glad you think it doesn't look too bad, lol!

Beth, thanks. My talented brother Rand does the headers.

Debbie, you are too kind. This is definitely not one of my best photos, but I'm glad it's not too bad.

Natasa, that is a myth about reheating spinach. If you google it you can find confirmation that it's safe in many places on the internet. It should not be repeated reheated, but saving it once and reheating is fine. (I've done it hundreds of times in my life, no problems.)

Cindy, great! Hope he will enjoy it. Good news about his success on the diet.

Carol B said...

I love penne pasta with sausage! Thank you a million for creating a SB-friendly version. The spinach will be wonderful. By the way, I used to make a dish with egg, mushrooms, spinach, ground beef and garlic. It was all done in on the stove-top. If you have a recipe for that, I'd love to see it. I can't seem to get the cooking sequence down anymore.

Kalyn said...

Carol, glad you like this, thanks. Sorry but I can't think of a recipe I've seen for a dish like you're describing.

Farmgirl Susan said...

If I ever move back to the city, I'm buying a house on your block so we can be neighbors and you can feed me. This is definitely my kind of recipe - just like so many of your others. We really do have similar taste in food, only you cook (and blog) a lot more often than I do! ;)

Kalyn said...

Susan, I will definitely feed you if you move in next door. Promise!

Garrett said...

This is dinner tonight! Thanks, K!

Kalyn said...

Garrett, great! So glad you like it despite the homely photo!

jennaseverythingblog said...

Some of my favorite recipes turned out to have not-so-great photos as well . . . but your dish looks delicious to me anyway! Brandy and cream--yes!!

jennaseverythingblog said...

. . . I should clarify I was talking about the brandy and cream in Tom Colvin's comment, sorry. =) The original recipe sounds awesome too. I simply adore mushrooms and spinach.

Kalyn said...

Jenna, no worries! And yes, I'm sure the pasta with sausage, brandy, and cream would taste amazing. I just didn't want anyone to be misled thinking I was implying it was okay for the diet.

corina said...

I think the pictures look great. They make me want to eat it anyway, that's what counts.

Kalyn said...

Corina, thank you! My readers are so sweet. And I'm probably too critical of myself as well. I really appreciate knowing you'd love to eat it!

Stephen Williams said...

I tried this tonight and it was very good, and I had a side of sauteed yellow squash, al-dente. I think you could forget using any pasta at all and just use the squash as it had a similar color and not an overpowering taste. The flavor is coming mostly from the delicious turkey sausage. Calories and carbs would be much lower. Steve

Kalyn said...

Sounds like a nice idea to make this with squash, or maybe sub some of the pasta for sausage.

Mandy said...

Pastas are my weakness. They always tend to taste so good and often go well with any dressing. Gosh, I love it! said...

As they say pictures are worth a thousand words, your dish was great and I enjoy your website very much. Thanks!

gfe--gluten free easily said...

It sure looks fantastic to me, Kalyn. :-) So many colors and flavors ... great for this time of year!


Kalyn said...

You guys are just being too kind about the photo. Just as long as you think it looks good to eat, I guess that's all that really matters!

Tom said...

Really looks good.

betsybaby said...

I made this last night with a spicy chicken and mango sausage and it was AMAZING!!! My husband said it was the best pasta he ever had...EVER!!!

Kalyn said...

Betsy, wow! Tell him thanks for that.

Sheskis said...

We're at the end of a vacation and I had a conglomerate of ingredients left to use up-this was perfect! Thanks for the recipe.

Blogging tips