|Photo belongs to How to Feed a Loon|
I made this last night which was crazy as it took quite a loooooooong time to prepare but; it was soooooo, soooo good. Of course, I did not make the sausage from scratch, but I did roll the meat into mini-meatballs which turned out beautiful. The dish was truly filled with layers of flavor and one that truly impressed my husband. He raved about how good it was. It was really quite a gourmet dish and for some reason, it reminded me of some of the Tuscan recipes I have made. Don't know why but it did...
(P.S. Do not make this on a weekday as it took me way longer to make than 15 minutes!)
This Country Italian Pasta is perfect on a cold night....or anytime, for that matter! This will truly warm your cockles. A Loon Favorite for sure!
Author: Kris Longwell
Recipe type: Entree
- 1 bag of fresh spinach (10 - 12 ounce bag)
- ¼ cup of good olive oil
- 4 sweet Italian sausage links...casings removed..shaped into small balls (recipe for homemade below)
- ¼ cup of finely chopped prosciutto
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 6 fresh basil leaves...chopped
- 1 tablespoon of fresh flat leaf parsley
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
- ¼ cup of white wine
- 1 28 ounce can of white cannellini beans, drained
- 3 cups of chicken stock
- 1 cup of freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese
- 12 ounces of dried rigatoni pasta
- FOR THE HOMEMADE ITALIAN SAUSAGE:
- 3 lbs marbled pork butt (Boston pork butt is good), cut into ½-in pieces
- 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 & ½ teaspoons toasted fennel seeds
- 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- ½ teaspoon ground anise
- 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 3 tablespoon dry red wine
- In a large pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil...add spinach. Cook for 2 minutes. Drain into ice water to stop the cooking. Drain again. Squeeze the spinach to remove excess water. Reserve.
- In a large skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil...when heated...Add the sausage and cook until browned...place on paper towels to remove excess oil.
- In the same skillet, heat the rest of the olive oil over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add the prosciutto. Cook until browned and crisp, abut 7 minutes.
- Add the onion. Cook until translucent, abut 10 minutes.
- Add the garlic, stir for about another minute
- Add basil, parsley, and salt (about a teaspoon) and pepper (about ½ teaspoon). Stir for 1 minute.
- Add the wine to de-glaze the pan, scraping up brown bits stuck to the skillet. Cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes.
- Add the spinach, sausage, beans and chicken stock
- Raise the heat to medium high high and simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Add in ¾ cup of the cheese...stir until slightly thickened
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted pot to a boil...add in the rigatoni. Cook for 8 minutes, or until al dente, stirring occasionally.
- Drain pasta. Add the pasta to the spinach mixture and mix well.
- Top with ¼ cup of grated cheese.
- Serve with bread and enjoy!
- MAKE THE ITALIAN SAUSAGE (AHEAD OF TIME):
- Mix all the ingredients (except casings) in a large bowl, toss well to coat,
- Refrigerate covered, overnight.
- Pass the mixture through a meat grinder (or, use process in a food processor, in two batches).
- Shape into patties, or meatballs.
- Cook accordingly, or store in fridge for 3 - 4 days, or freeze.