This one has it all… Veggies. Pasta. My favorites: Tomatoes & Cream. The husband’s favorite: MEAT!
The recipe I’m sharing with you today has a special place in my heart for a couple of reasons. First, this dish is big on flavor and leftovers but low on cost. The husband even thanked me for picking such a cost-effective meal (can you tell I have a tendency towards fancy cheeses yet?). Definitely a keeper for those reasons alone. Secondly, on a very personal note, this recipe was inspired by a dear friend of my family, Linda, who worked with my dad for most of my life, and many of my early memories, including “Take Your Daughter To Work Day,” include her hugs, laughter, and fiery personality. Two years ago, Linda passed away after a battle with cancer, but even as she was still fighting and weak, she came to our wedding and passed along several of her family recipes, which I cherish making because of her generosity, as a beautiful way to remember her with each meal.
From Linda’s Sausage Rigatoni recipe I made some changes to fit my cravings, and what came out was a fantastic, fairly quick week-night meal for a crowd. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do, and as you enjoy, remember to give thanks for the people in your life who have given you love and joy.
- 1 lb rigatoni
- 3 shallots, minced
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1-1.5 lbs Italian sausage, (I think hot is the way to go, but sweet can be substituted), if in links, remove the casings
- 1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 Tbsp dried oregano
- 1 Tbsp dried basil
- 4 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves removed from the stems, plus more for topping
- 2-3 handfuls of baby spinach, stems removed
- parmesan, grated for topping
- Boil water for the pasta, and follow package instructions to cook the rigatoni until it is al dente. Reserve ⅓ cup of the pasta water to add into your sauce later.
- In either a VERY large sauce pan, or my preference - a dutch oven, heat the olive oil.
- Once heated, add the shallots, and sauté until the shallots are soft and almost translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, and sauté lightly until the garlic is just becoming fragrant, about 3 minutes.
- Add the sausage and cook until all the sausage is broken up in small bits and fully cooked through. Drain the pan when done if you want to cut the fat.
- Add the tomatoes, basil, oregano, and thyme leaves.
- When the sauce begins to simmer, pour in the cream and stir until smooth.
- Let the sauce begin to bubble lightly, then stir in the spinach.
- Let it simmer for a few minutes until it is heated through, and the spinach is wilted and fully incorporated.
- Finally, add your pasta to the sauce and let it simmer until everything is heated through again.
- Finally, serve with a few thyme leaves and gratings of parmesan on top of each dish.