Have you every had one of those crazy spontaneous moments and asked people over to dinner that evening and it is already 5 o’ clock! Of course you have done this, and then arrived home to find yourself in a panic over what you can pull together quickly while screaming out loud, “what was I thinking inviting people over tonight!!!!”” That’s when you zoom to the supermarket (or do this before you go home to avoid this panic attack) and buy the few things you need to make this gorgeous, crowd-pleasing dinner! It is also a super inexpensive main course for six.
I also think when you see how easy this is, you might also decide to make a batch of brownies while everyone is sitting around after dinner: yes, it’s what I did and I wasn’t taxed a bit! (Recipe for Brownies below)
You will need:
2 tbs olive oil
1 lb seasoned sausage (I used an Apple & Onion, but feel free to grab whatever is available: mild Italian, garlic, wine & herbs, etc – * If I were on the East coast of Ireland I would use Lavistown Sausages*)
ALSO: you can use chicken or turkey sausage
1 large Vidalia (sweet) onion, small dice
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, including leaves, diced
4 sprigs fresh thyme (if you don’t have it, don’t worry)
4 cups chopped fresh spinach
2 tsp curry powder (any favorite variety)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper flakes (optional)
1 1/2 cups chicken broth (or 1/2 bouillon cube & water)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
sea-salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 lb medium pasta shells (I use Barilla brand)
Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (if you have it on hand)
*This can easily be a Blood Type A Diet recipe by using a poultry sausage (chicken or turkey) Also, substitute the cream with more stock (veggie or whole bouillon cube) and, if you are really strict, omitting the curry powder and chili flakes*
*Put large pot of water on for pasta, add about 2 tsp coarse salt to water. Cook according to instructions and reserve about 3/4 cup pasta water before draining. do not rinse pasta with cold water. It will take the pot of water about 5 or so minutes to come to a boil and the shells will take anywhere from 9 to 11 minutes (check package for cooking time). This adds up to about 16 to 20 minutes, so time the pasta to be ready at the same time as it is required in the dish*
1 – Put large saute pan on medium heat and a the oil. When it has warmed add the onions and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes.
2 – While onions are cooking remove the sausage from casing (instructions above)
3 – Add the sausage to pan be cutting it into pieces as you go, or breaking it off into pieces with your hands. Add the thyme and celery. Turn pan up slightly and cook the sausage for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until starting to brown on all sides.
4 – Add the curry powder (and bouillon cube if using) and stir into sausage mixture until everything looks golden.
5 – Add the broth (or water) and let it come to a simmer. Add the cream and wait until it is also simmering before adding the chopped spinach. Cover and lower heat until everything is at a very gently simmer and cook for about 5 minutes. Turn off heat and taste sauce and add salt and pepper if needed (purely personal). Add the just-drained shells and stir. If you like a looser sauce, add some of the reserved pasta water (and a little cream if you like) until desired consistency is reached.
Serve in warmed shallow bowls with a grating of Parmigiano Reggiano.