Last week was busy and we really did not have many family dinners. In fact between after school activities running late and Mr. Mixture being out of town I got quite a reprieve when it came to cooking dinner. We were able to enjoy several leftover type meals and breakfast for dinner, as it seems to always be a hit. When Friday rolled around and I knew we would all be enjoying dinner together after a busy week, I decided to try something off our Recipe Must Try List. I figured a pasta dish that Little Miss Mixture had picked would be a nice way to end a busy week.
On my initial attempt at Quick Rotini with Sausage and Tomato Sauce, I made some changes that fit into our eating style better. As it indicated in the initial recipe we found in Cooking Light May 2014, you could substitute spinach for the Arugula. Well in the last few years, we have become fans of all greens, so when I found an organic spinach arugula mix at the store, I decided it would add a nice touch of flavor to the pasta dish. I substituted whole wheat pasta for the original called for rotini, as I rarely eat anything else. I made a few other changes as well as I created the dish for Friday evening.
In the end the dish came out nicely, it had a little heat to it from the crushed red pepper and adding more greens that originally called for provided a nice color to the dish as well as increased the nutritional value. But the greatest value in this meal was as a family of three there was plenty left over for another meal. I do not have a problem with leftovers in fact there are some foods that I think are even better the second time around, but leftovers can be hit or miss with the other members of the Mixture family. So when I decided to revamp the pasta dish for a nice week night meal, I was pleasantly surprised with its versatility. The pasta dish became a perfect casserole and hit the spot on a dreary overcast day. In fact it might have been better received and enjoyed than the first go round.
Quick Rotini with Sausage & Greens**
8 ounces Whole Wheat Rotini
3 (4oz) Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage links, casings removed*
2 1/2 cups Greens (I used arugula spinach mix)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1. In a large saucepan boil water. Add pasta and cook 7-9 minutes. Drain pasta over a bowl so that you can reserve 1 cup of cooking liquid.
2. Heat about 2 tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add sausage to the pan and cook about 5 minutes or until browned. Add 1 cup greens, onion, oregano, crushed red pepper, and garlic. Cook 2 minutes stirring frequently.
3. Add reserved cooking liquid, tomatoes, sugar, and black paper. Bring to a boil and add pasta to skillet. Cook about 2 minutes and add remaining greens. Toss greens throughout pasta and serve. Top with fresh parmesan cheese, if desired.
Pasta and Sausage Take Two Baked
Leftover Quick Rotini with Sausage, and Greens
1/2 cup Ricotta or Cottage Cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup spaghetti sauce ( I used trader joe organic tomato & basil)
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup sliced or grated mozzarella cheese
1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees
2. In a large bowl mix the pasta dish with Ricotta cheese and next five ingredients. Once mixed well, pour into a ceramic or glass baking dish and top with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 for about 20 – 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and pasta is bubbling. Serve and enjoy.
**We are a family of three so the original recipe that served four actually stretched to serve us twice since we enjoyed salads with it both times. In order to get the benefit of this pasta dish two ways, you may want to double the original recipe.
If you enjoy pasta dishes, here are some others you may like as well