Not long after Paul was born my mum, dad and brother all came to visit. One night my brother whipped up this pasta for dinner. Still recovering from childbirth and breastfeeding around the clock left me very hungry in those early days and this dish just really hit the spot that night. I can remember going back for seconds and then tucking into another bowl again the following day for lunch.
It’s become a regular meal at our house since and when my brother was in town recently he kindly offered to make this pasta again, knowing it’d be a winner. It really is a very simple meal, but it’s quick (can be thrown together in around half an hour), satisfying and toddler friendly…
What you’ll need
- Four Italian style sausages (I like something with fennel)
- 300g of dry pasta (farfelle or bow-tie pasta is popular in our house because it’s easy for little hands to pick up)
- Half a jar of a red pesto (I like this one, but my brother prefers this one)
- 80g of baby spinach leaves
- Parmesan cheese to finish
How to do it
- In a large fry pan, heat about a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. While the pan and oil is warming , fill a saucepan with water, add a few generous pinches of salt and bring to the boil.
- Once the saucepan of water is boiling, add in your pasta. Using a sharp knife, remove the casings from the sausage. Using wet hands, take the mince and roll into little meatballs. (stops the meat from sticking to your hands) Cook the meatballs in the fryan over a medium heat until golden.
- When the pasta is al dente, scoop out about half a cup or so of the water from the saucepan it’s been cooking in. Drain the pasta and then tip it into the fry pan with the meatballs. Stir in the pesto, pasta water and spinach, then combine until the leaves have wilted.
- Portion into bowls and then finish with a dusting of Parmesan (or whatever cheese you prefer).
Of course if you’ve got a bit more time up your sleeve you could make your own pesto. There are also endless other ingredients you could add to up the vegetable content in the dish -sautéd red capsicums or eggplant would work well. And if you’ve fresh herbs like basil or parsley on hand, they could easily be incorporated.
This recipe serves four, but can be scaled up or down – allow about one sausage per person.
I won’t try and disguise this as anything other than what it is – a quick , budget-friendly and easy mid-week dinner. A dish to whip up when you’re not in the mood for anything elaborate or time consuming, but want something the entire family can enjoy together.
Have a wonderful week.