Rigatoni with Chorizo, Tomatoes, and Spinach

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It’s funny how various forms of food inspiration can come together to create a pretty awesome recipe. This recipe started when a friend of mine mentioned that she added sausage to my Pasta Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino instead of my usual Parmesan-Crusted Shrimp Scampi. I thought, “hmmm, that sausage idea sounds tasty” and told her I would try it sometime. Then, a few days later, I was perusing a lifestyle magazine at the doctor’s office when I came across a recipe for rigatoni with olive oil, salt, pepper, and some fancy Italian cheese I never have in my refrigerator. I had a light bulb moment and I knew what I wanted to cook!

This recipe is so quick and simple, but it feels like the type of meal that I put a lot of thought into when I place it on the table. I also like that it makes good use of tomatoes and spinach, to help me get in my daily serving of fruits and veggies.  IMG_8862BPrep Time: A minute or two to grate the Parmesan. That’s all!

Cook Time: About 35 minutes,  20 minutes to cook the pasta and chorizo and another 15 to cook the rest of the ingredients with it.

Servings: 5-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 16-oz box of rigatoni
  • 1 lb chorizo or other ground sausage
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling on the finished dish (we use a block of Parmesan for this recipe because we prefer the texture of the freshly grated cheese)
  • Salt and ground black pepper (optional)

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First, boil a pot of lightly salted water. Once the water is boiling, add the rigatoni and allow to cook until half- to three-quarters of the way done, about 10 minutes. IMG_8859

While the pasta is cooking, brown the chorizo in a skillet over medium-high heat. The pasta should be ready by now, so remove it from the heat and drain it, saving 1 cup of the pasta water for later. Continue to cook the chorizo, about 15-20 minutes, until the meat is browned and fully cooked

Drain any excess grease from the sausage and in the same pan, add the can of diced tomatoes. Cook over medium heat.
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Allow the tomatoes and chorizo to mix well, then transfer to your pasta pot with the rigatoni. Add the chicken broth and pasta water. Allow to cook uncovered over medium heat until the rigatoni is almost ready, about 10-12 minutes.

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Now add the Parmesan cheese and stir. The liquid should start to thicken up and form more of a sauce as you add the cheese.  Finally, add your spinach and allow to wilt another few minutes until the rigatoni is al dente.

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Remove from the heat and add salt and pepper to taste. You really shouldn’t need any salt since we already salted the water and we used chorizo and canned tomatoes, but if you are a salt fanatic feel free to go wild. I add about a 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper to ours. The chorizo is also pretty spicy, so if you do not like spice, I advise going with a less spicy sausage. Sprinkle with more grated Parmesan before serving. 

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