Pasta Night! Beef & Sausage Pasta with Spinach & Fresh Herbs

Pasta! My absolute favorite Carb!  I mean…who doesn’t like Pasta?!?!  That would just be Un-American!  Or Un-Italian!  Or…Un-Everything Normal in this Entire Universe!!!!  Pasta is one of those foods that is so easy to keep handy in the pantry.  So many different shapes, sizes and uses!  Homemade or dried, it’s so versatile and quick to use for a well planned meal or for any last-minute meals like this one!!

I have been away from Simple Southern Living for a couple of weeks because I catered my first wedding (more to come on that very, very soon…EEEK)!  So the last thing I’ve really wanted to do since was a lot of cooking!  But this week, I had a real craving for some good, hearty pasta!  So here is what I had in the pantry.  Everything but the sausage & fresh herbs.

**Disclaimer…the wine is not for use in the recipe!  That was all for me to enjoy.  All by itself. All of it.

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Beef & Sausage Pasta Bake Ingredients–And Wine.

This is only a 2 pot meal, so very easy clean up!  Get your pasta water started while you are chopping the onion, garlic & herbs and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Next you will want to heat a pan large enough for all of the ingredients.  I used a 12″ Stainless Chicken Fryer. (If you don’t have a big enough pan…you’ll have 3 pots because you’ll need a casserole dish later.)

Brown the Wright’s mild sausage & lean ground beef with the onion & garlic you just chopped.  I didn’t use any oil.  The sausage had enough oil to brown ground beef without adding any extra.  Which meant I also didn’t have to drain my pan! Also add in the red pepper flakes, salt & pepper.  Once this is browned, your pasta water should be ready to boil the noodles.  Make sure you always salt pasta water!  To quote the great Mario Batali, now a host on the wonderful show ‘The Chew’…”Salt the Water Like the Sea”!  Boil the noodles until they are cooked al dente.  Usually about 1-2 minutes less than the package instructions for my preference.  Then drain.

Noodles Boiling, Meat & Tomatoes Simmering.

Noodles Boiling, Meat & Tomatoes Simmering

Finish the sauce while the noodles are boiling. Add in your whole tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, basil & more salt & pepper if needed.  Let the mixture simmer & reduce down slightly.  For any Italian dishes that call for tomatoes, I always use whole San Marzano Tomatoes.  They are easy to break up in the pan while you stir and I think they just have more flavor.  I usually use Cento San Marzano Whole Peeled Tomatoes.

Next add in heavy cream, spinach & parmesan cheese to sauce. You just want the spinach to be slightly cooked down.  Then stir noodles into the mixture.  Top with more parmesan & mozzarella cheese then bake in the oven for a few minutes until cheese is slightly melted & brown!

Perfetto!

Perfetto!

Perfetto!

You can top this with a little more basil, olive oil and certainly some fresh grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese!  Serve it with a salad, some toasted bread or just by itself! So easy and quick but everyone will think you were cooking away for hours!  Let them think it!!  This is a dish they will be sayingComplimenti Alla Cuoca”…or Compliments to the Cook!

Buon Appetito!!!

Buon Appetito!!!

Let me know what you think! Alla Salute!

Beef & Sausage Pasta with Spinach and Fresh Herbs

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Credit: Simple Southern Living

1 lb of Lean Ground Beef
1 lb of Mild Sausage
3/4 pkg No Egg Pasta Ribbons
1 28 oz Can San Marzano Whole Tomatoes
3 oz Tomato Paste
3/4 Bag of Spinach
3/4 c. Parmesan Cheese & More for Topping
8 oz Fresh Mozzarella
1 c. of Heavy Cream
2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1 Medium Onion, Diced
2 Garlic Cloves, Chopped 
1 1/2 tbsp Chopped Fresh Oregano
5 Basil Leaves Chopped
Salt & Pepper to Taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees & boil water for the pasta.
2. Chop onion, garlic & fresh herbs.  
3. Next brown the sausage, lean ground beef, red pepper flakes, onions & garlic in a heavy deep skillet.
4. Once this is browned, go ahead and salt the boiling pasta water very well then stir in the noodles. Cook 1-2 minutes less than the package directions then drain.
5. Finish the sauce while the noodles are boiling.  Make sure there isn’t any excess oil in the pan.  Drain if needed.
6. Add in the tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, salt & pepper.  Stir until the tomatoes are broken up and mixed well.  
7. Let sauce reduce a little.
8. Add in fresh basil, heavy cream, parmesan cheese & spinach.  Let spinach cook down slightly.
9. Finally stir in noodles and toss to coat.  
10. Add any salt & pepper to taste if needed.  Top with parmesan and slices of mozzarella.
11.Bake just until cheese is melted and slightly brown.  
12. Drizzle with olive oil, fresh parm or more basil if you like.

Sunday Skillet Chicken Dinner! Or a Monday…a Tuesday…or a Wednesday Dinner!

Let’s be honest.  There are a MILLION ways to cook chicken.  And with that being said, I’ll admit…I don’t LOVE chicken anymore!  It’s just SO predictable. So much of the same all of the time.  So blah.  Yep, I’m a bitter chicken cooking, recipe ignoring, non-lover of the bird.  Or so I thought….

For the last few months, I’ve been trying to convince myself that steak (umm…swoon!!) isn’t the best protein EVER created and I need to eat healthier foods.  After countless, and often failed, bird-cooking tries I finally re-discovered that I really do LOVE a good chicken thigh!  The versatility of what you can do with this part of a chicken is just so…delicious.  So I decided to take 2 things I love and combine them.  My cast iron skillet…and chicken thighs!

Cast Iron Chicken with a Caramelized Lemon, Rosemary & Caper Sauce

Cast Iron Chicken with a Caramelized Lemon, Rosemary & Caper Sauce

I found my inspiration for this dish originally from Bon Appetit Magazine and adapted it to this!

For this easy recipe:  You will need chicken thighs, lemons, capers, white wine (and some for sipping), rosemary, chicken broth, olive oil, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, shallot, garlic and some half & half.  Seems like a lot…but it’s really easy and flavorful.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  To get started, make sure you trim any excess fat and skin off of the chicken thighs, pat them dry & season well with salt & pepper.  Next, drizzle a little oil in your cast iron skillet & set the temp on medium to high heat.  Don’t let this to scorch or it will taste…well SCORCHED!  I use Herb Oil.  A local Birmingham, AL based company that makes their own herb-infused oils, salts, mustard, tapenade and bitters (click on the link for more info).  I use it for almost everything because it is soooo good!

I'm Slightly Obsessed  (There's More in the Pantry)

I’m Slightly Obsessed (There’s More in the Pantry)

If you don’t have your own Herb Oil, olive oil will work just fine.  Once this is sizzling, add in your chicken, skin side down.  As the fat from the skin renders…you’ll want to pour some of the oil out of the pan.  You want to keep the pan just barely greased.  We don’t want to deep fry this!  Let this cook for about 10 minutes or until chicken is about halfway cooked through.  Then add your lemons and place in the oven.  Scatter the lemons throughout the pan and make sure you get some on the bottom so they caramelize in the drippings!

Look at Those Lemons

Look at all of the Lemon Slices!

Let this continue to bake for about 10 more minutes and lemons on the bottom of the pan are caramelized.  Remove from the oven and take out the caramelized lemons on the bottom & the chicken.  Set aside.  Don’t remove the soft lemons that are not browned yet.

Add to those lemons and pan drippings your garlic, crushed red pepper, capers, rosemary and shallot.  Cook this for about a minute.  Remove from the heat and add the wine, then back on the heat!  Don’t want to catch on fire here!  You’ll cook this until the wine reduces down by half stirring up those yummy brown bits on the bottom of the pan.  Just simmer for a couple of minutes. Then add your broth and more lemon juice!  (**Note…if you don’t want to use wine, just skip that step.  You’ll just want to reduce the chicken broth the same way).  Then add your chicken back into the pan skin side up along with the caramelized lemons.  Place back in the oven for about 10 more minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked through!  If you are using a meat thermometer, get the internal temp to 165 degrees.

Right before you serve it, stir in just a little half & half into the sauce.  Spoon some of the sauce over the chicken and top with some fresh parmesan!

Cast Iron Chicken with a Caramelized Lemon, Rosemary & Caper Sauce

Mouth. Is. Watering.

Isn’t that BEA-U-TEE-FUL??!!??!! Serve this with some Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes & this is perfection!

Perfection!

See…I Told Ya…Perfection!

Let me know what you think!  Enjoy!

Cast Iron Skillet Chicken with a Caramelized Lemon, Rosemary & Caper Sauce

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Adapted from: Bon Appetit Magazine

4 Medium Chicken Thighs, Trimmed
1 Tbsp Herb Oil or Olive Oil
1/3 c Dry White Wine
1/2 c Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1 Thinly Sliced Lemon
1/2 Lemon Juiced for Sauce
2 Tbsp Capers
1 Sprig of Rosemary
1 Tsp Crushed Red Pepper
1 Medium Shallot Thinly Diced
1 Clove Finely Chopped Garlic
2 Tbsp Fat Free Half & Half
Salt & Pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Trim the chicken of any excess fat or skin.  Pat dry and then season both sides generously with salt & pepper.
3. Heat oil in cast iron skillet on med-high heat until sizzling.
4. Add chicken, skin side down. Brown for about 10 minutes until chicken is cooked about halfway through.
5. Add lemons on top of chicken and on the bottom of the pan to caramelize.
6. Place in oven and continue cooking for another 10 minutes.
7. Remove.
8. Take chicken and caramelized lemons out of the pan and set aside.
9. Leave the soft lemons in the pan to continue cooking.  Add in shallot, red pepper, rosemary, capers & garlic.  Cook on the stove for another minute.  Just until cooked through and fragrant.
10. Add in wine and continue to stir until sauce is reduced by half.  Make sure to get the brown bits from the bottom of the skillet stirred into the sauce.
11. Add in broth, lemon juice and salt & pepper to taste and heat to a simmer.
12. Place caramelized lemons & chicken back into the pan. Skin side up this time. Cook in the oven for another 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
13. Internal temp should read 165 degrees.
14. Stir in half & half to the sauce.  Spoon sauce over chicken & top with freshly grated parmesan cheese.  Serve immediately.