Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Orecchiette with Spinach, Sausage and Tomatoes

Thankfully, I got two shifts in at the hospital this weekend and I was quite pleasantly surprised when I found a gift in my "mailbox". I didn't get a chance to open it until later in the day, but when I did, I was very touched! One of my friends gave me a cookbook by Pampered Chef, called "29 Minutes to Dinner". It couldn't have possibly been any more appreciated, as not only do I love to cook, but I LOVE quick meals!!! I brought the cookbook home on Sunday night and rather excitedly showed my husband. It seems as if he only "half listens" the majority of the time, but apparently it caught his eye, because he spent yesterday morning looking through it (while I was working) and picked a recipe to make for dinner last night. I didn't get home until about 9pm, but when I walked in, the house smelled WONDERFUL! I had no idea he had picked a recipe from that cookbook until after I ran up and showered, because dinner was supposed to be a "surprise", but I got a kick out of the fact that he seemed as excited by a new cookbook as I was! While I had absolutely nothing to do with the preparation of this meal, I wanted to include it as a post, because it most definitely is worth trying and it was very cute to see my husband proudly making dinner for me after a long day's work. Just a couple of little "notes" before I post the recipe...

1) My husband used bow tie pasta, which was a perfect substitution! It seems awfully difficult to find orecchiette pasta around here--I think I've only been able to find it once!

2) The dish was a tad bit spicy for me, even though my husband said he made a point to use mild Italian sausage as opposed to the hot Italian sausage that the recipe called for. Perhaps it was the *optional* crushed red pepper flakes that he added--he ended up putting two teaspoons. As a side note on the recipe, it suggests using sweet Italian sausage for a milder dish--I would definitely make this recipe again and would consider going that route instead and/or omitting the red pepper flakes altogether.

This would be a great dish to make if you are having company over, as it presents really nicely--it looked really pretty in person, but unfortunately, I took the picture about 9:30pm, so I didn't have an ounce of natural light to work with. My husband served it with garlic bread, but it would be great to serve with a nice salad, as well. God love him, but he doubled it for just the two of us (because he said he wanted to make sure there was enough), so it made a TON! There easily is enough left for at least 2-3 meals! Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Orecchiette with Spinach, Sausage and Tomatoes

1 1/4 pounds bulk hot Italian sausage
3 cans (14.5 oz each) Italian-herb diced tomatoes, divided
12 oz uncooked orecchiette pasta
2 1/2 cups water
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups grape tomatoes
1 oz Parmesan Cheese, grated
5 oz fresh baby spinach leaves


Cook sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes, breaking apart as it cooks. Drain canned tomatoes using a colander into a large bowl; reserve 1 cup of the tomato liquid for later use in this recipe.

Add drained canned tomatoes, tomato liquid, pasta, water, minced garlic, red pepper flakes (if desired) and salt to skillet. Cover and cook 13-15 minutes or until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, cut grape tomatoes in half. Add grape tomatoes, spinach and reserved 1 cup tomato liquid to skillet. Cook 1-2 minutes or until spinach is wilted, stirring constantly. Sprinkle with cheese.

Source: Pampered Chef 29 Minutes to Dinner, Volume 2


  1. OMG, this looks delicious! I'm always on the look out for easy pasta recipes & this is definitely one I'm going to make.

  2. This sounds so good! What a great gift :)

  3. That's an awesome gift! This pasta looks SO good. I know we'd eat it here! Happy Holidays : )

  4. Looks like a beautiful dish to me, what a treat to have that ready when you came home :)

  5. Oh my gosh does that ever look good. I really like the addition of the spinach to this; adds color and nutrition. Big YUM!

  6. Sounds like a winner to me. Hope both you and your sister have a very happy holiday season!