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Author Notes: Some of the best recipes are born of necessity and longing -- and there is a secret thrill to throwing a great new dish together with things you have on hand or using leftovers (even more thrilling...).
This dish was created on a stormy L.A. afternoon, as I watched the rain streak down the windowpane and longed for something warm and comforting, but still somewhat healthy. The Pecorino is optional – but a little sprinkling on top really adds a lot of flavor. Adding the tomatoes and spinach at the last keeps the tomatoes fresh and vibrant and the spinach slightly wilted and still bright green.
- 1/2 pound linguine pasta
- 3 thin slices pancetta – about 9” long (rolled and sliced into ½ inch lengths)
- 3 large cloves garlic (crushed)
- 1/2 red onion (chopped small)
- 24 cherry tomatoes (cut in 1/4ths)
- 6 ounces fresh baby spinach (organic)
- 1/4 cup fresh basil (about a fistful) – coarsely chopped
- drizzle of your best e.v. olive oil or basil infused oil
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (for pasta water)
- more o.o. for cooking turkey sausage
- 1 tablespoon salt (any kind)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- fresh ground pepper
- fresh pecorino (for grating over top)
- Fill deep sauté pan with enough olive oil to cover bottom, add sausage, onion and ¼ tsp. sea salt and sauté about 4 minutes until sausage is becoming golden. Add pancetta, sauté about 4-6 minutes more until sausage is cooked and onions are translucent.
- Reduce heat to low, add garlic and sauté for 5 more minutes until garlic is softened.
- Meanwhile, heat pasta water with 1 tbs. salt until boiling, add 1 tbs. olive oil and cook pasta until almost al dente, about 9 minutes.
- Turn heat on sausage onion mixture up to medium, add pasta, hot, directly from boiling water into sauté pan and add spinach and about ¾ ladle-full of pasta water. Add tomatoes. Toss to coat and slightly wilt spinach. Add a drizzle of good olive oil, taste and test for salt and pepper. Tomatoes should still be bright red and only slight warmed and spinach should be wilted and bright green.
- Remove to plates. Top with a little fresh ground pepper and freshly grated pecorino. Enjoy!
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Spinach Recipe