Monday, November 25, 2013

Apple & Sausage Pasta

Hello from Hilton Head! It's a little cold this year, with a high of 50 yesterday, but we're still spending as much time outside as possible! We discovered TJ's Take & Bake in 2003, and it's become a yearly tradition ever since.  Their motto is simple: "We make it fresh, you make it hot!" TJ's uses fresh ingredients and homemade dough to assemble pizzas, then customers pickup their orders and cook them at home.  Some of the other family Hilton Head traditions include: bike rides on the beach (check), a visit to Sea Pines Harbour Town (check), Thanksgiving dinner at Frankie Bones, and Black Friday at Tanger Outlets.

We stay at timeshares with (limited) kitchens, which we use for dinner a few times because eating out every night gets tiresome.  Preparing a menu to cook without knowing what kitchen supplies will be available, and without the staple ingredients we usually have in the pantry is quite a challenge for KK, but he takes it in stride.  He chose four recipes for this week, the first of which was this meal.  Despite the lack of good knives and a garlic press, the meal came together easily! If you can find it, IGE recommends using sweet-apple chicken sausage; ironically we usually avoid that flavor at home, but we were unable to find it at the HHI Harris Teeter.  To enhance the sweetness of the meal, use a sweet apple such as Honeycrisp or Fuji.  My dad recommended we use two apples instead of one next time, and I agree with him 100% (ingredients already updated)!

Apple & Sausage Pasta
Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats
Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4-6

1 lb gemelli
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
12 oz. chicken sausage, sliced or crumbled
2 sweet apples, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch crushed red pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste
15 oz. Great Northern Beans can, drained and rinsed
6 oz. spinach
1 cup chicken broth
⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water before draining pasta.

2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Saute onions and sausage until sausage is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Break up any large pieces of sausage.  Toss in apple, garlic, and crushed red pepper flakes, and season with salt and pepper.  Continue sauteing 5 more minutes; apple pieces will become tender. Add beans, spinach, chicken broth, and Parmesan; stir 2-3 minutes until spinach is wilted.

3. Combine sausage and apple mixture with pasta, and stir until combined.  If desired, add reserved pasta water to reach desired consistency.  Serve immediately.

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