Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Quick & Easy Weeknight Dinner

Quick and easy. How does that sound on a busy weeknight? Personally, it makes me sing Hallelujah.

This one was really easy: throw it all in a skillet and let it cook. We all know my affinity for sauce-y dishes and this one doesn’t fail to impress my taste buds, even with a super light broth based sauce.  The sauce thickens as it cooks and with the addition of the Parmesan at the end, it thickens up a bit more and perfectly coats the pasta.

A few quick tips...
•    Dont rinse your pasta. Your sauce will slippery slope right off, never ever coating your noodles the way we love for it to- especially this kind of sauce.
•    Don’t season your mushroom/onion mixture until you’ve got your desired browning on your veggies -- salt will hinder that golden color on your mushrooms, so wait to do it until you add the broth.
•    The sauce will seem really liquid-y, but just be patient and wait for it to simmer down to reduce and thicken.  It will be worth the wait.
•    Fresh or frozen spinach can be subbed out in the recipe, but if using frozen be sure to drain that spinach as best you can to limit any additional liquid being added.

Quick and Easy Sausage Pasta
13 ounces (about 3/4 pound) whole wheat penne pasta (any tube pasta will do)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound sweet Italian turkey sausage, casing removed
1 sweet onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5 ounce) can fat-free, lower sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flake, more or less for heat
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 (14.5 ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 (10 ounce) package fresh baby spinach
1 (8 ounce) package whole mushrooms, quartered
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain and reserve. In a large skillet heat oil and add onion, garlic, and mushrooms. Cook until garlic is fragrant and onion is transluscent and mushrooms have released some liquid, about 8 minutes. Add sausage; crumble and cook through until no longer pink. Add broth, seasoning and tomatoes with liquid. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes to reduce. Add spinach; cover skillet and simmer on reduced heat until spinach has wilted and become tender. Add pasta to skillet and mix together. Sprinkle with cheese and serve immediately.

Nutritional Information:
Calories: 443; Fat: 13 g; Carbohydrates: 55 g; Fiber: 9 g; Protein: 27 g

Amber Massey is a registered dietitian with the Executive Health program at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth and New Mom to twin girls.

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