Cast Iron

Creamy Sausage and Spinach with Whole Wheat Rotini

November 11, 2014
0 Ratings
  • Serves 2-4
Author Notes

Every time I buy sausage I always intend to cook something creative with it, but then fall back on the default of sausage and peppers, which is good and all, but this time I decided to do something new. The result was flavorful, comforting, chock full of spinach, and was gobbled up very quickly. —Abbie C

What You'll Need
  • 2 garlic and herb pork sausages
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 clove of garlic, smashed
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese in two, 1/4 cup portions
  • 1 pinch fresh ground pepper (to taste)
  • 1 pinch salt (to taste)
  • 3 cups frozen chopped spinach (thaw and squeeze off most of the liquid if it's in a brick, or add frozen if it's in a bag and not stuck together)
  • 2 cups whole wheat rotini
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a medium sized pot, cook the rotini in salted water and drain when al dente. In the duration of time it takes to bring the water to a boil and then cook the pasta, you should have enough time to make the sausage and spinach sauce.
  3. Drizzle the tablespoon of grapeseed (or any other high-heat oil) into a skillet on medium-high heat and add the sausages. Once the sausages start to brown turn the heat down to medium-low and let the sausages cook for about 5 more minutes so that they will be almost cooked through. Take the sausages off of the skillet and let rest on a plate for about 5 minutes then slice them diagonally into ~1/4" slices. Heat up the pan to medium-high, and add the sausage back to the pan to brown the cut surfaces. This should take about 5 minutes.
  4. In a small sauce pan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Once the butter is melted, add the flour to make a roux. Stir the flour into the butter and keep stirring for a minute or two. Add the cup of milk and smashed garlic clove. The clove will come out later, so don't smash it to oblivion. Season with salt and pepper. Keep stirring the sauce over medium heat until it thickens, which will take around 5-7 minutes (it should have a similar viscosity to glue...but doesn't taste like glue! I promise!).
  5. Once the sauce is thick, take out the garlic clove, stir in the first 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, then stir in the spinach and heat on low for another minute or two to reheat the sauce incorporate the spinach. Stir in the sausage, and some of the pan drippings if you want to add a little extra meatiness to the sauce.
  6. Drain the pasta and mix in the spinach and sausage mixture until all of the pasta is coated. Pour into an oven safe dish, top with the remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, and bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes until the pasta on top browns a little. I baked mine in a 10" cast-iron skillet, which I had used to brown the sausages. I wiped out the remaining fat and oil before adding the coated pasta.

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