Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Healthy and Hearty Pasta of the Month - Orecchiette with Sausage

 Usually, healthy in the eating arena means a stick of carrot or celery.  Hearty describes a soup or stew!  But, when you can attest to losing weight while eating delicious pasta that is healthy and hearty,  I'll be the first one to "belly up" to the table.

Trust me on this one....Instead of using olive oil, this recipe called for chicken broth.  You can also use kale or chard, but I used spinach.  With the addition of fennel seeds, red chili flakes, garlic and mushrooms, I transformed this, otherwise bland recipe, into a quilt free feast!

Orecchiette with Sausage

2 cups orecchiette, little hat or ear shaped pasta

large pot of boiling salted water

about 4 links of sweet or hot Italian sausage (I used sweet but added red chili flakes for heat and spice)

5-6 mushrooms, sliced

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tsp red chili flakes

1 tsp fennel seeds

2-3 cups fresh spinach, chopped

1 cup fat free chicken broth

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated


Cook the pasta in the boiling water according to the direction.

While the pasta is cooking, place the sausage which has been removed from the casing into a large skillet.  On medium heat brown and break up with a wooden spoon as you go.  Add the mushrooms, garlic, chili flakes, fennel seeds and spinach.  Stir until spinach is limp, for a few minutes.

Add the broth, scraping the bottom and sides of the pan to loosen all that flavor.  Cover and reduce the heat, cooking for a few more minutes (2-3).  Drain the pasta, add to the skillet and stir until mixed well.

This serves 4 servings of 1 1/2 cups each.  Sprinkle a bit  (1/8 cup) of Parmesan for one serving.  Enjoy!

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