This is one of those perfect pasta dishes that is comforting, but not too heavy. It is now in my top ten. I love how easy it is to make and that the recipe makes two, so you can make one and freeze one for later. It came in really handy when I brought dinner to friends that had a new baby since dinner was made for both of us that night. The sauce is simple, but has so much flavor with a hint of richness. And the hearty bites of chicken sausage pairs so well with the tomato and spinach. Writing this makes me want to run to the store and grab all of the ingredients again.
Baked Rigatoni with Chicken Sausage & Spinach
Imperfect Polish 2014
Makes two dishes that serve 3-4 or
Makes one dish that serves 6-8
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 1/2 lb chicken sausage
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/3 cup of white wine (optional)
28oz can of whole tomatoes, with the juice and crush them with your hands
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 lb rigatoni
10 oz baby spinach
8 oz fontina cheese, 6 oz cubed, 2 oz grated
1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil on the stove.
Meanwhile, add one tablespoon of the oil to a skillet and heat to medium high heat. Cook the chicken sausage all the way through, turning to brown all sides. Turn off heat and place sausage on a cutting board to cool.
Add the other tablespoon of oil to the skillet and turn the heat back on to medium high. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then pour in the wine. Let cook until wine has reduced by half. Then pour in the tomatoes and oregano. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Let simmer for 15 minutes. Add the cream, stir to combine, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees, slice the chicken sausage. And cook rigatoni according to the package instructions and add in the spinach to the pot for the last minute or so. Drain.
Add the pasta, sausage, spinach, and cubed fontina to the skillet and mix well. Pour everything into either one large casserole dish or two smaller ones. Top with the grated fontina and parmesan.
Bake for 20-30 minutes until bubbly and browned on top.
If you are freezing one, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and place in the freezer. Then when ready to serve, thaw and bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees. Or frozen for 45 minutes to 1 hour.