These days everyone is screaming NO carbs. But even Pam thinks a little pasta once and awhile isn’t bad. In Italy, they eat pasta all the time. Traditional Italians are locavores, who follow the Mediterranean diet consisting of healthy proteins, healthy fats, fresh vegetables, moderate grains and sugar, very little snacking and smaller portions. Their obesity rate is half that of America’s.
I don’t eat pasta often, but when I do, I love it. Pasta is my happy, comfort food. I probably learned this from my mother since her, “I’ve had a crappy day I need something delicious” food is a simple bowl of pasta with butter, Parmesan and a dash of truffle salt.
Most of the time I modify existing recipes, but this one is an original. I love Italian sausage and it goes really well with spinach and mushroom. I counter balance the pasta’s carbs by loading this dish with all three. There’s no sauce here. The entire flavor comes from the sausage, mushroom, garlic, shallot, white wine, pasta cooking liquid and Parmesan cheese. If gluten is an issue for you, you could substitute for a gluten-free pasta. Watch cook times on those, since they can get mushy.
8 oz. mild Italian turkey sausage, casings removed (spicy sausage works well too)
2 T finely chopped shallot (onion works too)
1 large finely chopped garlic clove
8 oz. button mushrooms (shitakes work too)
2 T white wine, optional
5 oz. baby spinach roughly chopped (about 4 heaping cups)
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese plus more for serving
Bring large pot of well-salted water (2 T Kosher salt) to a boil.
Heat 1 T oil in a large sauté pan. Add sausage and cook until no longer pink, roughly 5 minutes. While cooking the sausage you’ll want to break up into small pieces with a spoon.
Add garlic and shallot to the sausage and cook for 2 minutes. Remove sausage mixture, place it in a bowl, set aside.
Heat 1 T oil in the same skillet and add mushrooms and ¼ tsp kosher salt, few grinds of pepper. Cook until lightly browned roughly 4 minutes.
Add the white wine and cook until it’s almost evaporated, roughly 2 minutes.
Add spinach, cover for 1 to 2 minutes allowing it to wilt. Remove cover, add sausage and their accumulated juices to the mushrooms, stir.
Place pasta in the water and cook until al dente. Important note* - before draining pasta reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking liquid.
Drain pasta and add to the sausage pan. Turn flame to medium adding the reserved cooking liquid and a ¼ cup of Parmesan cheese. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring until the water has absorbed into the pasta. Add a few grinds of black pepper and taste for salt (I always add an additional ¼ tsp).
Plate and serve with extra Parmesan cheese.
HEARTFUL RECIPE – with gluten-free pasta - One of our real food recipes that focuses on veggies, protein, healthy fats and/or healthy carbs and doesn't include gluten, dairy, soy, refined sugar, corn or peanuts.