I haven’t posted a recipe since March 30th (!!!!). What have I been doing for two-and-a-half months?! It’s not like I haven’t been in the kitchen. But I haven’t been trying as many new things, and what I’ve been trying I haven’t been posting. I’ve made a few recipes without taking any photos at all! I do not even recognize myself. A new meal without accompanying photography is like Christmas without Santa, right? RIGHT??

I’m coming out of my cooking writeup funk and am catching up on a bit of a backlog. But I may save some of them for fall; suddenly recipes I made in the dead of winter don’t seem so appealing in mid-June. This one, however, is a crowd pleaser anytime.

This is from my old standby America’s Test Kitchen Family CookbookI’ve been making a chicken and broccoli version of this skillet dish for years (seriously, I make it all the time), and I decided I needed to try one of the other variants. The leftovers of both dishes are amazing, so I make the full batch and have lunch for a few days. It takes no time to make, which is another reason I’m smitten.

To make matters confusing, though, there is a slightly different version of this same recipe in their other book Best Skillet RecipesI did sort of a hybrid of the two (one has onions and heavy cream, one doesn’t; the directions are slightly different). I’ve written below the version that I made, not either of the originals.

Sausage. Spinach. Delicious, folks.

Skillet Penne and Sausage Supper (Hybrid version)
Serves: 4 to 6

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb. hot or sweet Italian sausage (turkey or pork), casings removed
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed and chopped (fine)
8 ounces penne (2-1/2 cups), but I sometimes throw in more to have more leftovers
2-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 (5 ounce) bag of baby spinach
1 ounce grated Parmesan (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted (optional)

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat until shimmering (the recipe calls for a 12″ nonstick, but I use my 6 qt. saute pan for everything). Add the sausage and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, about 4 minutes (until it’s no longer pink).


Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Stir in the broth, cream, sun-dried tomatoes, and 1/2 tsp salt.


Add the pasta.


Increase the heat to high and cook at a “vigorous simmer” (great phrase), stirring often, until the pasta is tender and the liquid has thickened. 15-18 minutes.



Stir in the spinach a handful at a time until wilted. Off the heat stir in the Parmesan and pine nuts.


Season with salt and pepper and serve.