Pasta with Chicken Sausage, Mushrooms, Mozzarella, Tomatoes, Spinach and Basil

by Rachel Gurk on October 19, 2011 · 34 comments

in Pasta, Poultry

I didn’t want to leave anything out in the title–I’m in love with all the ingredients in this dish.

I quite often buy chicken sausage when I go to the store. It isn’t usually part of my “menu plan” for the week. I buy it for these days:

  • Days when I don’t have a meal planned.
  • Days when I’m not “feeling” what I have planned.
  • Days when something goes wrong with what I have planned. Which never happens. (Eye roll.)
  • Days when I end up not having time to make what I have planned. Those are usually nights when my hubs gets home late from work. We don’t let my daughter watch TV yet, so it is hard to prepare dinner unless he is home to help keep her entertained.

 

I like it because it keeps for a while in the fridge. Gross? I’m over that. I like that it keeps for at least a couple weeks so I always have a back-up plan. I also like it is versatile. I can serve it with rice and veggies or a I can throw it into a pasta with whatever I have in the house. I also like the different varieties offered, because I find that they inspire recipes (such as this one.) Note: This is not a sponsored post–I’ve just been on a chicken sausage kick. I haven’t found one particular variety of chicken sausage that I love over all other varieties, I buy what is on sale.

 

Like I said, I was inspired by this variety of chicken sausage. I tossed it with whole wheat pasta, tons of veggies, and fresh mozzarella. Healthy, filling, delicious. And as always, easy.

I topped this pasta with toasted pine nuts. Or if you’re a fancy-pants: Pignolias. I could eat the suckers by the handful. But I’d go broke. If you’re not a fan, you can eat this pasta without them, or you could grate some Parmesan over the top. But I would strongly encourage the addition of the pine nuts.

To toast, I throw my pine nuts on a paper towel and heat them in the microwave, 30 second intervals until they are toasted and fragrant. Don’t tell anyone that I cheat and use the microwave, but why get another pan out?

Pasta with Chicken Sausage, Mushrooms, Mozzarella, Tomatoes, Spinach and Basil
a NotRachaelRay Original

12 oz pasta–I used whole wheat penne rigate
reserved pasta water
1 tablespoon olive oil
12 oz chicken sausage, sliced (I used sun-dried tomato with mozzarella)
16 oz sliced white mushrooms (baby bellas would work too)
3 oz fresh baby spinach
5 oz grape tomatoes
1 cup fresh mozzarella pearls (you can dice up any type but the pearls are oh-so-cute!)
1/2 chopped fresh basil
toasted pine nuts for garnish, optional

1. Put on water to boil and cook pasta according to package directions.
2. Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add in sliced sausage and cook until browned and slightly crispy. Keep an eye on them, I almost burnt mine! Remove to a paper-towel lined plate.
3. Toss in mushrooms and sauté until browned and cooked. Toss in spinach and grape tomatoes and cook until spinach is wilted and tomatoes begin to split.
4. Remove from heat and add in cooked pasta, basil and mozzarella pearls. Stir to combine, adding reserved pasta water to achieve your desired consistency. (I added ~1/2 cup of reserved pasta water.)
5. Garnish with toasted pine nuts.

Verdict: So tasty! Loved all the flavors in this pasta. Great meal for a busy week night. Good left over too!
Husband’s take: He loved this pasta. He said “This would cost 20 bucks in restaurant.” (I love this man.)
Changes I would make: None! Well, I’d try to cook my sausage a little more evenly, but it still tasted great.
Difficulty: Easy! I’d recommend doing some veggie preparation beforehand, that way you can keep a closer eye on your sausage while it is browning. I’m not naming any names, but that is where someone (okay, ME!) nearly failed in this recipe.

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kathryn October 19, 2011 at 6:39 am

Oh the flavours in this sound delicious! Perfectly warm and comforting, especially for Autumn. And I love the trick about toasting pine nuts in the microwave!

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2 Rachel October 19, 2011 at 11:53 am

It is so quick and easy, I toast all my nuts in the microwave!

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3 Kitchen Belleicious October 19, 2011 at 8:02 am

Girl! Wow! This looks amazing and all those extra goodies in there like the cheese and basil and mushrooms just make it extra special. A new favorite of mine is chicken sausage and I can’t wait to take this recipe and make it for myself- i mean my family of course- of course they can have some too:) LOL!

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4 Judy@Savoring Today October 19, 2011 at 9:44 am

Yum, this looks really tasty! Those sausages are great in a Thai peanut sauce too :)

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5 Rachel October 19, 2011 at 11:52 am

Oh yum, I bet they are!

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6 Nelly Rodriguez October 19, 2011 at 9:58 am

Love it! This is my kind of meal for sure, easy and super tasty!

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7 Tara @ Chip Chip Hooray October 19, 2011 at 10:58 am

I definitely felt my hunger factor increase as soon as the first picture in this post loaded. This is everything I love in one pasta dish…and I want some right now! Sigh. :)

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8 Brooke @ Veggie Table October 19, 2011 at 11:15 am

Minus the chicken sausage (for the obvious reason) – I’m allll over this Not Rachael Ray Original! :)

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9 Rachel October 19, 2011 at 11:52 am

Hahaha, yeah–maybe some fake chicken sausage? :)

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10 Brooke @ Veggie Table October 19, 2011 at 11:57 am

Yes – fake chicken…or nothing – this recipe seems so flavorful!! I bet it could hold its own without the sausage :) Oh my gyah, I’m hungry for this pasta bowl right nowww!

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11 Rachel October 19, 2011 at 11:58 am

It definitely could, especially with the whole wheat pasta.

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12 Leslie Means @ Her View From Home October 19, 2011 at 11:27 am

Oh I love all these ingredients – especially the pine nuts, mozzarella and spinach!! YUM-O!! Best part, I’m pretty sure my husband and girls would love it too! By the way – I linked your pumpkin seed recipes on my blog yesterday. Such a great idea!

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13 Bev Weidner October 19, 2011 at 11:52 am

Girl, you know we both love our sausages. ;)

I could take a nap inside that dish.

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14 Ericka October 19, 2011 at 2:34 pm

So nice and healthy! I meant to say earlier that I loved your meal planning post from a couple of days ago. I’m gonna try that! Sooo bad a meal planning!

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15 Geni October 19, 2011 at 4:49 pm

What a beautiful pasta dish. I would love all of these ingredients. I wish I could just pop by and have some!

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16 Lisa @ Lisa's Dinnertime Dish October 19, 2011 at 4:57 pm
17 Autumn@Good Eats Girl October 19, 2011 at 6:06 pm

Sounds awesome! I love a good pasta dish! YUM!

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18 Michele West October 19, 2011 at 6:23 pm

This looks delicious!

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19 Claire @ Claire K Creations October 19, 2011 at 6:38 pm

I love that there are other people who have to ‘feel’ the meal that they’ve planned. That happens to me so often. I have it all planned out then the day comes and I don’t feel like whatever’s on the plan. It’s great to have a backup.

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20 Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen October 19, 2011 at 7:58 pm

Looks delicious! I had no idea you could toast pine nuts in the microwave!

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21 Tracey October 19, 2011 at 8:25 pm

What a great combination of flavors! A perfect weeknight dinner for sure.

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22 Lauren October 19, 2011 at 9:25 pm

Wow, totally trying to toast my pine nuts in the microwave! Genius!

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23 Nancy October 19, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Mmmm- this looks delicious and easy enough for even me! I love Ben’s comments- the best part of the recipe :)

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24 Vicki Bensinger October 19, 2011 at 10:02 pm

I love how suddenly everyone is cooking comfort foods. This looks so good and comforting with lots of healthy ingredients.

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25 Krista {Budget Gourmet Mom} October 19, 2011 at 11:57 pm

This looks like such a wonderful dinner! Great flavors and I love the addition of the chicken sausage.

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26 Kiran @ KiranTarun.com October 20, 2011 at 5:10 pm

That’s one bowl of delicious and colorful pasta. I love hearty pasta’s as such. Smiled while reading Ben’s comment :)

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27 Kim ~ Recipes To Run On October 20, 2011 at 7:26 pm

I have that same sausage in my fridge right now ~ for all of the reasons you mentioned. I actually stocked up at Costco. I love the dish you created. And I have never tried the microwave to toast the pine nuts…. Can’t wait to try that! Great tip.

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28 Carrie's Experimental Kitchen October 22, 2011 at 7:41 am

Found you through Lisa’s Dinnertime Dish and this pasta looks amazing!

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29 Rachel October 22, 2011 at 8:41 pm

Thank you! It was so tasty–and super easy!

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30 Nutmeg Nanny October 28, 2011 at 12:25 am

I love chicken sausage! We eat it a lot in our house too :) I also agree that I like that it keeps a long time…gotta have a backup!

I love all the deliciousness you threw into this pasta. Totally delicious and full of flavor.

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31 Mackenzie December 15, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Oh my gosh – I’m in love. I am making this. It looks fantastic!!

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32 mjskit June 24, 2012 at 2:47 pm

What a delicious looking pasta and that sausage – a great find!

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