Sunday, August 28, 2011

Spinach, Goat Cheese, and Pesto Orecchiette with Sausage and Pine Nuts

The other day, the Monkey Scientist and I were shopping at Trader Joe's (my favorite) and I found this orecchiette, and I was inspired.  I knew exactly what I wanted to make - and it turned out my intuition was spot on.

Orecchiette (little ears) are a fantastic pasta when you're adding lots of fun ingredients - they're the pasta version of Tostito's Scoops.  My inspiration was to mix healthy spinach with pesto to blend it in and make it delicious.  Then to add some goat cheese for warmth.  To top it with toasted pine nuts for crunch.  And then, add it some seared sausage for protein (the MS loves his protein) and spice.

On a side note, did you notice my new plate?  I was down in the U Street neighborhood a couple of weeks ago when it started POURING on us and we we took cover in an antique store.  They're moving locations, so they were having a big sale.  I got 6 of these plates for $10 - I was pretty excited.  I think they're kind of funky!

The pasta dish is ah-mazing.  How can you go wrong with spicy sausage, pasta, and goat cheese? Really, you can use any sausage you like, but I'm all for spicy sausages like Spicy Italian Chicken and Chorizo. AWESOME.  It filled our bellies after a long day of running around in the rain in Old Town Alexandria.  Is that a theme lately, getting caught in the rain?  If it means enjoying yummy dinners like this, I'm all for it.

Spinach, Goat Cheese, and Pesto Orecchiette with Sausage and Toasted Pine Nuts

1 bag orecchiette (I got mine at Trader Joe's)
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 links Spicy Italian Chicken Sausage (...Trader Joe's)
1 link Chorizo (ok this was from Giant!)
2-3 tablespoons prepared pesto (again, Trader Joe's)
1 1/2 cups chopped frozen spinach, defrosted
2 oz goat cheese
3 tbsp pine nuts
freshly ground pepper
2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1. Boil pasta according to package instructions.  Drain and return to pot. Toss with 1 tbsp olive oil.
2. Chop chicken sausage into 1 inch slices and remove Chorizo from casing and chop with edge of wooden spoon.  Heat 1 tbsp oil over medium heat, and cook sausage until Chorizo is cooked through and chicken sausage is browned on both sides.
3. Toast pine nuts in a small saute pan over medium heat until just browned.  Watch so that they don't burn!
4.  Add sausage, pesto, spinach, goat cheese, pine nuts, pepper and red pepper flakes to pasta and stir well to combine.  Serve immediately.

P.S. I'm going on vacation until after Labor Day, and the blog is going to vacation with me.  I'll be back and cooking again in September. Have a safe and happy holiday!


Quay Po Cooks said...

This look divine! Can never go wrong with all these wonderful ingredients.

Karen Liffmann said...

Yummy. Love the plate!

M. Scientist said...

Ooo nice dishes...they look kind of funky!

Christine knapkins_com said...

Hi Dani, Your Pesto Orecchiette recipe has been selected to be featured in a Recipe Guessing Game. Please share the following link with your friends and fans. To play, go here: Congrats again!! :)