I saw this recipe over at Kevin & Amanda the other day and immediately knew that I wanted to make it. Of course, I made some changes to fit the ingredients I had on hand and my personal preferences. The bones of the recipe, though, are perfect. It’s a one skillet meal, it cooks in about 30 minutes, and it’s got everything I want (pasta, meat, vegetables, and cheese). That’s a winner in my book.
I nixed the heavy cream in the original recipe because I figured that between the cheese and sausage, there’d be plenty of fat/creaminess going on, and I was right. The end result was rich, but not so much so that you’ll get a belly ache. I also added fresh spinach because I have a HUGE bag in my fridge just waiting to be used up. Plus, I felt that the recipe needed a little green.
Some other vegetable options for this recipe are bell peppers or broccoli. Both go great with smoked sausage. If you want to add bell peppers, cut them into thin strips and saute them with the onions in the beginning. If you want to add broccoli, cut it into very small florets and add it with the pasta so that it can simmer a little bit and soften. There are so many different ways you can take this recipe… I’m excited to hear what you come up with!
Creamy Spinach & Sausage Pasta
- 6 oz. smoked sausage $1.50
- 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.16
- 1 medium onion $0.32
- 1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes w/chiles $0.99
- 2 cups chicken broth $0.30
- 8 oz. pasta $0.50
- 3 cups fresh spinach $0.87
- 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded monterrey jack $1.17
- 1 whole green onion $0.10
- Thinly slice the smoked sausage and add it to a large skillet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Saute the sausage over medium heat until it is nicely browned (about 5-7 minutes). Drain off the excess fat.
- Dice the onion and add it to the skillet. Continue to saute until the onion has softened (about 5 minutes). Add the can of diced tomatoes with chiles and the chicken broth. Stir to combine and dissolve any browned bits off of the bottom of the skillet.
- Add the uncooked pasta to the skillet and make sure it is all submerged under the liquid. Place a lid on the skillet and allow the mixture to come up to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for about ten minutes, or until the pasta is tender. Stir once or twice while the pasta cooks to keep it from sticking.
- Stir in the fresh spinach, one cup at a time, until wilted. If you add it all at once, the skillet will be too full to stir. Keep the heat on while adding the spinach, so the liquid will continue to simmer and thicken.
- Sprinkle the shredded cheese on top, replace the lid, and let it sit for a few minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Slice the green onions and sprinkle them over top. Serve hot!
Step By Step Photos
I like to use meat sparingly and balance it out with other ingredients, like pasta and vegetables. So, I only used half of this 13 oz. link and froze the rest. There was still plenty of meat in each serving! Grocery stores often have turkey smoked sausage, too, if you want a lower fat option.
Slice the sausage thinly (so you get more medallions and more in every bite), then cook in the skillet with olive oil over medium heat until browned. Drain off the excess fat after it has browned.
Dice the onion and add it to the skillet. Continue to saute.
Cook until the onion has softened. As you can see, the moisture from the onion has dissolved most of the browned bits off of the bottom of the skillet. That’s a good thing. If not all of it comes off, that’s okay because it will dissolve in after we add the liquids.
Add the can of diced tomatoes with chiles (this is the same as Rotel tomatoes). If you can’t find these in the grocery store, you can use regular diced tomatoes and a separate 4 oz. can of diced green chiles.
Also add the two cups of chicken broth. That is the chicken “base” that I use to make broth for recipes. It’s usually between $4-$5 for one of those little jars, which makes 32 cups and stays good in the refrigerator for a LONG time. It also comes in many different flavors (beef, mushroom, vegetable, low sodium, organic, etc.).
Once you’ve added the tomatoes and liquid, add the dry pasta.
Make sure the pasta is mostly under the liquid so that it will cook. Put a lid on top and let the skillet come up to a simmer. Once it reaches a simmer, turn the heat down to low and let it continue to simmer for about ten minutes, or until the pasta is tender. Stir it once or twice while it’s cooking to make sure the pasta doesn’t stick.
And then like magic it looks like this!
I bought this HUGE bag of spinach, which, believe it or not, was only 50 cents more than one of those small bags of salad spinach. It’s the exact same thing, just marketed as “spinach for cooking”. Psh. They can’t fool me.
Stir in one cup at a time until it is wilted. Let the skillet keep simmering away as you do this so that the liquid will thicken up a bit.
Sprinkle the shredded cheese over top, put the lid on the skillet, and let it melt. Monterrey jack cheese is especially creamy and helps make the whole dish creamy despite not having any cream in it. Mozzarella will not have this same effect.
When the cheese is melted and gooey, sprinkle the sliced green onion on top. Enjoy!