This is one of my favorite “kitchen sink” recipes. It’s a no brainer pasta and sauce dish with a little Italian sausage and whatever frozen greens I happen to have on hand. I sprinkled a little feta over top for an extra kick and that was all I needed to make a super tasty and filling dish that kept me running all week. I like simple!
I actually planned to just make this with broccoli, but then realized that I had far less broccoli left over from week one than I thought. So, I added in a little of my leftover spinach as well. This recipe would also be really good with some sautéed zucchini. It’s really hard to go wrong with pasta and sauce, am I right?
The Italian sausage really added a lot of flavor to the pasta as well. Italian sausage is seasoned with a ton of herbs and spices, and as the pasta sits in the refrigerator, all of those glorious herbs infuse out into the entire dish. I used hot Italian sausage, but you could also use sweet or mild Italian sausage instead.
So here it is… The SNAP Challenge week three main menu item!
Penne Pasta with Sausage and Greens
Penne Pasta with Sausage and Greens
This super easy and satisfying Penne Pasta with Sausage and Greens is an entire meal in one pot. Cook once, eat all week.
- 13 oz package penne pasta $1.49
- 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.16
- 3 links Italian sausage (about 12 oz.) $2.99
- 2 cloves garlic $0.16
- 1 medium onion $0.42
- 28 oz can crushed tomatoes $1.39
- 6 oz can tomato paste $0.56
- 1 tsp basil $0.10
- 3/4 tsp salt $0.05
- Freshly cracked pepper $0.05
- 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar $0.02
- 1/4 lb frozen broccoli $0.47
- 1/4 lb frozen spinach $0.47
- 2 oz feta $0.87
Cook the pasta according to the package directions (boil for 7-10 minutes, or until al dente). Drain the pasta in a colander.
While the pasta is cooking, add the sausage links to a large pot along with one tablespoon of olive oil. Cook the sausage over medium heat for about five minutes, or until they are slightly browned and firm enough to slice.
While the sausage is cooking, mince the garlic and dice the onion. Remove the sausage from the pot and add the onion and garlic in its place. Sauté the onion and garlic in the pot for 2-3 minutes, allowing the moisture to dissolve the brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Meanwhile, slice the sausage into medallions. Once the onions are soft and transparent, add the sliced sausage back to the pot and cook for about 5 minutes more, or until the sausage is cooked through.
Add the can of crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, salt, pepper, and brown sugar to the pot. Stir until the tomato paste is evenly combined with the tomato sauce.
By this time the pasta should be fully cooked and drained. Add the drained pasta to the pot, along with the frozen broccoli and spinach. Stir to combine. Heat the pasta and sauce over a medium flame until warmed through (stir occasionally to help it heat evenly). Crumble the feta into the pot, stir to combine, then serve.
Step by Step Photos
Begin by cooking the penne pasta according to the package directions. That way it’s ready to go when the sauce is finished. I used one 13 oz. package of whole wheat penne.
This is the Italian sausage that I used. It’s packed full of herbs and spices and adds a lot of flavor to the dish. If you use plain ground meat, this recipe will come out pretty bland. You don’t have to use hot Italian sausage, though, you could use sweet or mild instead. I used three of these links and froze the other two for later.
Cook the sausage in a large pot with one tablespoon of olive oil until it’s brown on the outside and firm enough to slice.
While the sausage is browning, dice one onion and mince two cloves of garlic.
Then do a little switcharoo with the sausage, onion, and garlic. Remove the sausage to a cutting board to slice it up into medallions and slide the diced onion and minced garlic into the pot. The sausage doesn’t need to be fully cooked at this point because it’s going to go back into the pot.
While you’re slicing the sausage, the onion and garlic will be sautéing. Make sure to stir it well so that the moisture from the onions dissolves the brown bits left on the bottom of the pot from the sausage (that’s why the onions look brown). That brown stuff is the really good flavor, so you don’t want to waste it.
Once the onions are soft and transparent, add the sausage back to the pot and cook for about five minutes more, or until the sausage is cooked through (it will no longer look pinkish in the center).
To make the sauce, I used one 28-oz. can of crushed tomatoes and one 6-oz. can of tomato paste. Crushed tomatoes are not as chunky as diced tomatoes, but not as smooth and liquidy as a plain tomato sauce. The tomato paste is really thick and rich and gives the sauce a nice body.
Add the canned tomatoes to the pot along with 1 tsp dried basil, 3/4 tsp salt, 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar, and some freshly cracked pepper. The sugar helps cut down on the acidity of the tomato products, which is important when you’re using a lot of concentrated tomato paste. Stir the sauce really well to help combine the thick tomato paste with the thinner crushed tomatoes.
By this point the pasta should be cooked and drained. Add the drained pasta to the pot along with 1/4 lb. each of frozen broccoli and spinach. You don’t really have to measure the frozen vegetables, you can just estimate about 1/4 of a one pound bag. Stir to combine everything and continue to cook the pot (stirring often), until it is heated through.
Finally, crumble the feta over top, then stir it in. YUM.
And then you have one big ol’ pot of inexpensive deliciousness!
Every time I’ve eaten this this week, I’ve wanted a second helping. Not because I’m still hungry, but because it was so tasty and so delicious! The Italian sausage really makes the dish.
Homemade goodness, right there.