I find myself craving pasta quite frequently. On some days I have a yearning for my mom's simple homemade tomato sauce (see recipe for it here), while other days I want something a bit heartier. A few years ago I switched over to eating primarily whole wheat pasta. It doesn't taste like 100% durum semolina pasta, but I enjoy its nutty flavor and it fills me up so that I don't overindulge. I have found a few brands of whole wheat pasta that I like, including Bionaturae and Garofalo.
The other night I decided to make a favorite of mine, pasta with escarole and sausage. I had a few chicken sausages in the freezer, so I pulled them out to defrost the night before. Luckily, I live only a block away from a great Italian grocery store and was able to find escarole (if you can't find escarole at your local grocery store, try substituting spinach or kale). With the addition of some sundried tomatoes, garlic, red pepper flakes, chicken broth, and parmesan cheese I was ready to go. The best thing about this recipe is that it takes no time at all. You can cook the sauce in the time that it takes to boil your pasta water. It's delicious, comforting, and dare I say healthy.
Chicken Sausage and Escarole Pasta (serves 4-6 portions)
- 1 lb. whole wheat pasta (I used a shape called casarecce, but penne would also work well)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 3 links of organic pre-cooked Italian chicken sausage, sliced into 1/2 cm thick coins
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 large head of escarole, cleaned and leaves sliced into 2-inch wide ribbons
- 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 3/4 cup sundried tomatoes (rehydrated in hot water, drained, and sliced thinly)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- salt and pepper to taste
- freshly grated parmesan cheese (for garnish)
Instructions for cooking the pasta:
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once the water had boiled, liberally season the water with salt (the water should taste like ocean water).
- Add the pasta and cook according to the instructions on the package.
- Drain the pasta and pour it back into the empty pasta pot with a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil.
Instructions for making the sauce:
- While the water is coming to a boil, heat a large sauté pan over low heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic.
- Add the red pepper flakes and sausage and continue to cook for an additional 3-5 minutes over medium hight heat, stirring occasionally.
- Add all of the escarole and the chicken broth. Cover the pan and cook over medium-high heat until the escarole is wilted, about 4-5 minutes.
- Add the sundried tomatoes and cook uncovered for an additional 2-3 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- When the pasta has cooked, pour the sauce over the pasta and mix everything together gently with a wooden spoon.
- Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese.