Ply Her Heart With Gold And Silver

I probably let you down with my first Tasty Tuesday post since I didn’t bother to post a recipe.  Instead, I bragged about how awesome my apartment is (hey, I think it is!) and told you the story of how I fell in love with cooking.

This week I won’t let you down.  Promise!

I’m posting one of my favorite dishes this week.  This is a recipe I snagged from the blog Mel’s Kitchen Cafe (which she adapted from Martha Stewart Everyday Food) and it’s divine.  And trust me when I say her picture is like 1,000,000 times better than mine!

Image

This picture doesn’t even begin to do this dish justice.  Personal photo.

If there’s one thing you’ll learn about me when you read this blog, it’s that I love pasta.  I eat it constantly.  Unfortunately, Eric doesn’t share my enthusiasm for pasta.  I mean, he likes it … But he wouldn’t be willing to eat it every day like I would.  That being said, he was definitely a fan of this dish when I made it.

Please try it.  You will seriously love it!

Baked Pasta with Chicken Sausage

Recipe taken from http://www.melskitchencafe.com

Adapted very slightly by me!

Ingredient List:

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (or the equivalent of jarred, pre-minced garlic if you’re pressed for time)
  • 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 14.5 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 lb rigatoni
  • 1 9 oz. bag fresh baby spinach (could also use 10 oz. frozen baby spinach, though I prefer fresh)
  • 12 oz. precooked chicken sausage, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4 inch thick (I used the spinach, fontina, and roasted garlic chicken sausage from Trader Joe’s and it complimented the other flavors perfectly)
  • 8 oz. mozzarella cheese (I used mozzarella from Trader Joe’s that comes in “balls” and it melted perfectly throughout)
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

1.) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Heat olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat.

2.) Add onion to the skillet and cook until translucent, approximately 3 minutes.  Stir in garlic and cook for another minute.

3.) Stir in both cans of tomatoes, oregano, and basil; simmer for 8-10 minutes.  Add heavy cream, cooking the sauce until it’s warmed through (about 5 minutes).  Add salt and pepper to taste.

4.) While sauce is cooking, preheat oven to 400 degrees.

5.) Cook pasta in the boiling water until al dente, according to package instructions.  If using fresh baby spinach, add this to the pot of boiling pasta near the end of cook time and cook until it’s wilted.  Drain and return contents to pot.

6.) Add tomato sauce, sliced chicken sausage, and about 4 oz. of mozzarella to the pot of pasta (if using frozen spinach, this can also be added during this step); toss to coat.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

7.) Scoop the pasta mixture into a lightly greased 9×13 inch pan.  Top with additional 4 oz. of mozzarella and shredded Parmesan.

8.) Bake, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes, or until the dish is browned and the edges are crisp.

9.) Enjoy!  This dish is great paired with a fresh green salad, garlic bread, and a glass of crisp white wine.

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