Daughter Adriana is especially fond of chicken sausage flavored with garlic, spinach and feta cheese, so that is what she used here. We usually serve this as a one-dish meal. But if you like, you can slice up a couple of tomatoes, season them with olive oil and salt and serve those as a light side dish.
To drink: Try a Falanghina, a dry white from southern Italy.
Servings: 4 - 6
- 1 tablespoon salt (for the cooking water, plus more as needed)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, flattened but left whole
- 12 ounces cooked chicken sausage (3 to 4 links), cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick coins
- 8 to 9 oregano leaves, chopped finely (about 1 teaspoon)
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 5 ounces fresh baby spinach
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound dried ziti or other short, sturdy pasta
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for garnish
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the 1 tablespoon of salt.
Heat the oil and garlic in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the garlic has softened. Do not let it brown or it will turn bitter.
Add the sausage and oregano; cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until the sausage pieces are nicely browned. Increase the heat to medium; stir in the broth. Cook for 15 minutes, or until the broth has been reduced by about half.
Stir in the cream; cook for 5 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened to form a sauce. Add the spinach leaves by the handful and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, just until wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat. Cover to keep warm.
Cook the pasta in the boiling water, just until the pasta is al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.
Add the drained pasta to the skillet; toss gently but thoroughly to coat. Discard the garlic if desired.
Divide among individual shallow rimmed bowls. Spoon equal amounts of any sauce left in the skillet on top of each portion, then sprinkle 1 to 2 tablespoons of cheese over each one.
From Adriana Vance of Alexandria.
Tested by Adriana Vance and Domenica Marchetti.
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