Dec 4, 2012

Italian Sausage with Spinach, Artichokes, Tomatoes, and Farfalle


For Thanksgiving, I made a meatless version of this recipe.  I really enjoyed it and thought that I could make a one dish meal by adding some sort of meat.  I chose Italian sausage because it is mild and thought that it would go great with the rest of ingredients.  This is so good. I am sure that you will want to make it often. I plan to. 

Ingredients: 

1- 1lb box of farfalle (bowtie pasta)
1 lb sweet or mild Italian sausage (optional)
3 tbs olive oil
2 cups of cherry tomatoes, split in half
1 onion finely chopped
2-3 garlic cloves minced
salt/pepper to taste
4 cups of fresh spinach or 2 cups of frozen that has been chopped
1- 6 oz jar of marinated artichokes or 1 cup frozen and chopped

For the Sauce:
2 tbs butter
2 tbs flour
2 cups of milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 oz of cream cheese, cut into cubes
1 tbs prepared pesto (optional)

Boil water and cook the farfalle according to the directions on the box.  Once done, keep the pasta in the hot water until the rest of the dish is nearly done, but the heat has been turned off.

In a large, deep saute pan on medium to high heat add the sausage.  Cook until the meat is cooked through.  Break up any large pieces with a spoon.  If you decide to use meat, such as sausage, then omit the 3 tbs of olive oil.  Push the meat to the outer edges of the pan and put the onion and garlic in the middle.  Saute until the onion is translucent.  Then add the artichokes and spinach. Continue to cook until the vegetables are tender.  Lastly, add the tomatoes and toss.

In a sauce pan on medium heat add the butter.  Once the butter has melted add the flour.  Stir quickly and then slowly add the milk.  Use a whisk, it will help with the lumps.  Once all of the milk is in the pan, add the cream cheese and grated Parmesan. Stir frequently to keep from burning. Add salt/pepper to taste.

Drain the pasta and return to the pot.  Next add the cream sauce and toss well.  Finally, add the meat and vegetables and toss together well. Adjust seasonings.  Serve immediately.  Enjoy!

 Cooks Note:  I didn't use pesto in this recipe. You can use light cream cheese instead.