Mid-Week Meal: Sausage Pasta with Spinach
HLN’s Dotty gives us the latest mid-week gem as part of her meal planning series
Today is another work from home day, so I make the most of it by doing a bit of extra pottering in the kitchen between meetings. After breakfast, I make chicken stock from the bones leftover from the chicken we ate at the weekend. The carcass, the wings, an onion, carrot, some peppercorns and a bay leaf go into the stock pot and I cover it with water. I turn it on to a high heat and set a timer for 20 minutes. I go back to my desk and trawl through a few emails until the timer goes off. By now, the stock is boiling, so I turn it down to a low simmer, put the lid on and leave it for anywhere between one and two hours whilst I crack on with work. When it’s done, I turn off the heat and leave it to cool until lunchtime.
When lunchtime finally does come around, I strain the stock – discarding the veg and herbs, which have done their job. I transfer the stock into a container and leave it until it’s cool enough for the fridge. I’ll use this to make my soup later in the week. The chicken bones get picked before the go in the bin. The wings in particular have a nice amount of meat left on them that I don’t want to waste. I pick off all the meat I can then pop it in a bowl. I’ll mix this with some mayo for a chicken sandwich to take with me to work tomorrow. For today’s lunch, I reheat the leftover cauliflower cheese in the microwave and shred some lettuce. I whisk up a quick dressing with lemon juice and Dijon mustard to go alongside. I head back to my desk and eat my cauli-cheese while I work.
It’s pasta on the menu tonight – a proper weeknight staple for us. This pasta dish is pretty quick to cook, which is a good job as I’m tutoring this evening and I’m always starving once I’m done!
1. I start by putting the water on to boil for the pasta. Then, empty the bag of spinach into a large frying pan and put the lid on and allow it to wilt. Once it’s cooked down to a fraction of the quantity, I turn off the pan and place the spinach into a sieve and use the back of the spoon to squeeze out as much of the water as possible. I chop the spinach as finely as I can.
2. In the same pan as I used for the spinach, I heat up 1 tsp olive oil. I split the sausage skins and squeeze the meat into the pan. Use a wooden spoon to break up the meat and allow it to fry without stirring it too much, so that it gets nice and golden on each side. Add the fennel seeds, chilli flakes and grate the clove of garlic into the pan. Fry for a couple more minutes.
3. By now, the water is probably boiling so cook the pasta according to pack instructions.
4. Add the wine and allow it to bubble for a minute, then add the cream and the chopped spinach. Bring it all to the boil and turn the heat down. Taste the sauce and check the seasoning – it might not need salt as sausages are often quite salty.
5. Simmer the sauce until the pasta is ready. Drain the pasta and pour it into the pan with the sauce. Stir everything to coat and spoon into bowls. Grate over some parmesan and serve.
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