This simple and inexpensive dish gets its flavor from spicy Italian sausage, along with color and nutrients from spinach. Because the tomato sauce is made in the same pan that the sausage was browned in, it gets a huge flavor boost from the start, which you'll definitely appreciate at the end. Overall, it's an easy dinner to throw together and the leftovers are even better the next day, or so I hear...
I developed this recipe during the heat streak in New York; since my apartment doesn't have AC, cooking was out of the question. Instead, I had to seek recipe-testing-refuge in my sister's apartment. Which also means that that she got the leftovers and I got a text the next day saying, "The pasta tastes even better for lunch!"
Sometimes I like grating extra cheese in the sauce while it's cooking for added flavor, but that's up to you. You can also skip the squash or use other seasonal vegetables in its place. If spicy Italian's not your thing, feel free to substitute with a chicken or turkey sausage instead.
- Yield:Serves 4
- Active time: 25 minutes
- Total time:30 minutes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 links Italian sausage (a little more than ½ pound)
- 2 ½ cups yellow squash, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1 large)
- 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced (about 1/4 cup)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch of dried red chili flakes
- 1 (28-oz) can whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 cup homemade chicken stock or store-bought low-sodium chicken broth
- 3 cups fusilli or ziti
- 2 ½ cups baby spinach
- Grated Parmesan, for garnish
- Fresh mint, roughly chopped, for garnish
Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the sausage and cook until it just starts to brown, about 2 minutes, then add the squash and finishing cooking until the sausage is no longer pink, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
In the same skillet, making sure that only 1 ½ tablespoons of liquid is in the pan (adding more oil if necessary or draining out the excess fat), lower the heat to medium and add the shallot, a pinch of salt, and the chili flakes and cook until the shallots soften, about 2 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and the broth, gently breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon, and season with salt and pepper. And the pasta and adjust the heat to maintain strong, active bubbles and cook until the pasta is just tender, 7-9 minutes. Add the sausage, squash and stir in the spinach and cook until the pasta is al dente, another 3 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Place in serving bowls and top with parmesan and the fresh mint.