Italian Sausage and Spinach Rigatoni Bake

madnad

I am very fortunate where I live to have a fantastic butcher who makes a wonderful range of sausages and black pudding. I love sausages so when I am passing, I like to stop by and buy a few sausages to stock up the freezer. One thing they don’t do, however, is Italian Sausage. I guess its just not to the taste of the locals. Sad really, since I love it. Usually flavoured with fennel seed and a little red wine, it’s a much more interesting sausage than most.

However, all is not lost. Sainsburys do a Sicilian Sausage which is ideal, but if that’s not available, they do a Toulouse sausage and you could add your own fennel seeds.

In this recipe, I take the skin off and tear the meat into small chunks, like mini meatballs. Coupled with the cheesy tomato sauce, it makes a satisfying and tasty dinner that is relatively quick to make.

Italian Sausage and Spinach Rigatoni Bake

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 Large Onion (finely chopped)
  • 400g Italian Sausage
  • 1 Vegetable Stock Cube
  • 1 tablespoon Plain Flour
  • 200g Baby Spinach
  • 400g Passata
  • 500g Rigatoni
  • 100g Garlic & Herb Philadelphia
  • 50g Freshly Grated Parmesan

Directions

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C / 400°F / Gas Mark 6 and place a pan of water on to boil for the pasta
2. Add the diced onion to a large frying pan with some olive oil and saute gently until the onion softens and starts to turn translucent
3. Meanwhile, skin the sausages and tear the meat into small chunks. Add to the pan with the onions and stir occasionally until browned
4. Sprinkle over the stock cube, and also a tablespoon of plain flour then stir until fully absorbed
5. Put in half of the spinach and then place the lid on and allow the spinach to wilt, then do the same with the second half
6. Pour the passata over the sausage and spinach, and stir in the cream cheese. Leave on a low heat to simmer
7. Cook the pasta until just cooked then drain. Put a knob of butter in the pasta and stir gently until melted and the pasta is all coated
8. In a large ovenproof dish, layer half the pasta then spoon over half of the sauce
9. Repeat with the remaining pasta and sauce
10. Sprinkle over the grated parmesan and place in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is browned on top

Note

This recipe will freeze well at the stage prior to the final bake. Cover well with clingfilm and foil. Allow to full defrost before baking.

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