Don’t you just love easy dishes that look fancy, but are no fuss? That’s exactly what you’ll get with this spinach pesto pasta, a slightly different take on the traditional basil version.
I used spicy turkey sausage because Hubs and I are ground turkey fanatics and love a little heat. If you’re not a sausage lover, use strips of chicken. They’d work just as well!
With summer in full swing, less time in the kitchen is actually a good thing. Served up hot or cold, this recipe is great right out of the skillet or as leftovers the next day.
- 10 ounces rigatoni
- 4 cups fresh spinach
- 15 basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus the juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 4 tablespoons grated pecorino romano or parmesan cheese
- 3 hot Italian turkey sausage links, casings removed
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the rigatoni and cook as directed. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water, then drain.
- While the pasta is cooking, make the pesto: in a food processor or blender, combine 2 cups of spinach, basil, water, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon nuts, lemon zest and juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and red pepper flakes. Pulse until smooth. Set aside.
- Form the sausage into quarter-sized patties, about 1/2" thick. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the patties and cook until cooked through, about 4 minutes per side.
- Add the pasta and pesto to the skillet, adding some of the reserved cooking water as needed.
- Season with salt and pepper, then add the remaining 2 cups of fresh spinach, 1 tablespoon of nuts and extra parmesan or pecorino romano.