I don’t always cook pasta, but when I do….I’m glad I did. Pasta tends to be my go-to option when I haven’t planned anything else. Dried pasta + kitchen ready tomatoes = fast dinner. I rarely start out with pasta as part of my meal planning. Seriously, the last one I blogged about was bolognese (which was really about the sauce) or mac & cheese. This one was awesome and I totally need to make it again.
This is totally a one pot wonder. It is based off of America’s Test Kitchen’s: The Best Simple Recipes. I saw it on a few blogs, here was one of them. Several took a spicy approach with hot sauce, spicy rotel, and spiced sausage. I added spinach to mine to increase the nutritional value but wheat pasta would be hidden really well here.
1, 12-oz pkg turkey kielbasa or chicken sausage
1 pound box short pasta
1 cup milk
2 cups chicken broth
1, 16-oz can crushed tomatoes
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp smoked paprika
3-4 cups baby spinach
1 ½ cups shredded monterey jack cheese
2 stocks of green onion, chopped
Saute kielbasa cut into coins, in a large hot skillet with 1 tsp olive oil. Stir until evenly (but lightly) browned over medium heat.
Add tomatoes, broth, crushed tomatoes and milk. Bring to a gentle boil.
Add in dried pasta, garlic, liquid smoke, and paprika. Stir and cover to cook for about 8 minutes.
After that, pasta will be mostly cooked, but still a bit firm. Cover the pasta with 1 cup of cheese and spinach. The sauce will have reduced and thickened.
I didn’t think it was especially smokey, but the flavors were great. The light tomato flavor is great in the cream.
I went with Kevin & Amanda’s choice of pasta shape: campanelle. They were great little cones to hold the sauce. Mr. J thought they reminded him of a krimpy pappardelle. I remember having campanelle regularly growing up.
It reheated perfectly the next day for lunch! It was suuuuper cheap. It is a great reminder of how easy and cost-effective it is to cook at home. This would be easy for lunch for the week or even halving the recipe.
There is also easy potential to add in other foods you have laying around. I think the base of pasta + protein + enough liquid = endless options. A slight Mexican twist uses hot sauce/rotel/salsa/pepper-jack cheese/jalepenos. An Italian twist could use chicken sausage/basil/Parmesan/artichokes. A BBQ twist could have bbq chicken/bbq sauce/liquid smoke/onions/peppers.
See what I mean? Endless possibilities.
turkey kielbasa $4.49
chicken broth: $0.80
canned tomatoes: $1.49/2
Monterey jack cheese: $2.50
green onions: $1.00/2
total: $11.89 (or $2.97 per person, 4 servings)