There are times when writing blog posts comes very easily to me and I’m done in 5 minutes. Truth be told, that’s nearly every blog post because if I’m not feeling it, it doesn’t get written at that moment. Then there are days like today when I really want to share something with you, especially because it’s been a while, but I truly have nothing to write. It’s especially unfortunate because I seem to have all the time in the world being stuck on a delayed Metra train that’s making countless stops. Random thoughts I’ve been having:
- Why do Netflix original series have the longest theme songs ever?
- Does everyone realize how funny Aziz Ansari is?
- I don’t go to Starbucks often, and rarely get “fancy” stuff, so I’m still a little taken aback that I spent over $5 on a drink that doesn’t even have alcohol in it.
- It’s even weirder when you see the old guy from your gym who makes sex faces outside the gym context.
- E-books from the library are wonderful things.
Anyway, most of these things cannot be expanded upon (and I’m guessing you really wouldn’t want them to be) so let’s just talk about this pasta. This is another one-pot meal because if there’s anything you can count on in the blog these days it’s one pot meals or meatballs or maybe one pot meals featuring meatballs. And, like I said, I want to share it with you because you’re going to love it.
I changed the amounts a bit to suit our family/leftover situation, and I also didn’t use as much liquid as Tara. I’m not sure if I had thinner marinara or quicker cooking pasta, but either way, I started with less, thinking I could always add more, but didn’t need to. Also, while I have no qualms about using heavy cream (or half and half) what usually happens is I buy it for a recipe, forget to use the rest, and end up pitching it. To avoid the inevitable waste, I used Greek yogurt instead (bonus points, of course, for it being healthier), which worked great. Finally, I wilted down some spinach into the pasta at the end.
Do I even need to say we all loved this? I mean, what is not to love about pasta, period? Let alone creamy pasta studded with sausage that can be cooked in one pot (okay, no one cared about that last part except for me).
One-Pot Creamy Sausage Pasta
Adapted from Smells Like Home
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds (optional)
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 lb. Italian sausage (sweet or hot), removed from casings
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 cups marinara sauce
2-3 cups water
10 oz. short or medium pasta (whole wheat is fine)
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2/3 lb. spinach or chard (optional)
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
Heat a large, deep skillet or a 4 qt. pot/Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the oil. Sauté the peppers and onions until they start to soften, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the garlic, fennel, red pepper flakes, a pinch of salt and a few cranks of black pepper. Crumble the sausage into the skillet and cook with the peppers and onions until browned.
Pour the wine into the skillet and scrape up the bits on the bottom of the pan. Pour the sauce and 2 cups of water in; stir the pasta into the mixture.
Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer, mostly covered, stirring frequently to prevent the pasta from sticking, for about 13 minutes. If it looks like you will need more liquid, add a small amount of water.
Stir in the spinach (if using) and wilt down for about 2 minutes (if you are not adding spinach, you may still need those 2 additional minutes for the pasta to cook). Once pasta is cooked through, remove it from the heat. Stir in the yogurt and Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste and top with fresh basil.