It’s getting cold out here in NYC, so after a long day at work and walking around the cold, busy city, sometimes you just need a rustic, comforting meal like pasta. I love pasta because the possibilities are endless and even something as simple as pasta with butter and parmesan cheese can be oh so satisfying. With pasta simplicity is sometimes best! This recipe is simple but the flavors are bold! The fennel seed in the Italian sausage combined with the spice from the red pepper flakes, the acid from the wine, the freshness of spinach and the creaminess of the cheese…it is just delicioso! This recipe is great because it takes about as much time as it takes to boil the pasta water and cook the pasta. The sauce only requires one pan and it doesn’t need to simmer for hours, super duper easy. Enjoy!
Feeds about 2-3 People
- 4 Italian Sausages (Medium size) (3 sweet and 1 hot, or more hot if you like it spicy)-Remove from the casing and crumble into small pieces.
- 1 Large Shallot diced small (or half a medium yellow onion)
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 Large Garlic Clove minced fine
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Cup Dry White Wine
- ½ Cup Heavy Cream
- ¼ Cup Chopped Fresh Basil
- ¼ Cup Beef or Chicken Broth
- 4 Ounces Baby Spinach
- Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
- ¼ Cup of Grated Parmegiano Reggiano Cheese (plus more to sprinkle on top when serving)
- Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
- ½ Lb Fresh Pasta (Any type works- Tagliatelle, Fettucine, Rigatoni, Orecchiette)
- While you are prepping the sausage boil the water for the pasta. Be sure to salt your water so the pasta is flavorful.
- In a large skillet on medium-low heat sweat the shallots and Bay Leaf in about 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil until they are soft and translucent. Add the garlic and Red Pepper Flakes just until fragrant.
- Add the crumbled raw sausage into the pan and cook until cooked through and brown.
- Add the white wine and cook for about 2-3 minutes on medium heat. Add the chicken broth cream and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Allow the liquid to reduce until it is “nappant” or can coat the back of a spoon. Set aside for a moment while you cook the pasta.
- Cook the pasta in the boiling water until al dente. IF you are cooking fresh pasta it should only take few minutes but follow the directions on the pasta packaging. When you drain the pasta be sure to reserve some of the liquid and set it aside in a cup or bowl.
- When the pasta is ready put the sausage back on the stove on medium heat. Add the cheese and stir until combined. At the very end add the baby spinach until wilted but still green. Then toss in the chopped basil.
- Toss the pasta with the sausage mixture. IF there is not enough liquid to coat the pasta, add a little of the hot pasta water. To serve, top the pasta with a little more parm cheese and more fresh basil if you like.
**For a variation: Add some chopped marinated Sundried Tomatoes or even swap out the spinach for some Broccoli Rabe, Chopped Broccolini or Fresh Peas.