Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Pasta with Sausage, Fennel, and Spinach

Fennel is expensive, so I left it out of this recipe. It was still good, but lacked a little something.... Fresh basil provided that little something, so if you have access to an herb garden, throw some in! It was delicious. And remember that fresh spinach cooks down, so don't be afraid to use the whole amount. It won't overpower the final dish.

~From The America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook

  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 pound hot or sweet Italian turkey sausage, removed from casings
  • 1 fennel bulb (about 12 ounces), tops discarded, halved, cored, and sliced thin
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 t. all-purpose flour
  • 2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 c. dry white wine
  • salt and pepper
  • 12 ounces whole-wheat penne
  • 6 ounces baby spinach (about 6 cups)
  • 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 ounce)
  1. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add sausage and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
  2. Add remaining oil to the skillet and return to medium heat. Stir in fennel (if using) and onion and cook until softened and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in broth and wine and bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce has thickened, about 15 minutes.
  4. Return sausage to skillet and cook until sausage is heated through, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a large pot. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring often, until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of cooking water, then drain pasta and return it to pot.
  6. Add spinach to pasta, one handful at a time, and toss to wilt. Add sausage-broth mixture and toss to combine. Before serving, add the reserved cooking water as needed to loosen the sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan.
Serves 6

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