Orecchiette with Sausage and Spinach

Prep Time 10 min.
Cook Time 12-15 min.
Total Time 10 minutes
Yields Approximately 11 cups


  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, cut into 1/2-inch slices (or substitute with turkey sausage) (see note)
  • 10 ounces spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • Sea salt to taste (we recommend starting with about 3/4 teaspoon and adjusting to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste (we used 1/4 teaspoon)
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound orecchiette (see note)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan


  1. In a large skillet, sauté garlic and onion for 2 to 3 minutes in olive oil, until lightly browned.
  2. Add sausage and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes, until sausage is no longer pink.
  3. Add spinach and vegetable broth, and let spinach wilt. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil, and cook orecchiette until al dente. Drain pasta and add into pan with sausage mixture. Simmer for another 2 minutes.
  5. Serve with grated parmesan on top. (We also added some shredded parmesan just for presentation.)


Recipe Notes

THK Notes and Recommendations:

Sausage: We took Kristin's recommendation to use lower-fat sweet Italian turkey sausage in this recipe, and we encourage you to do the same. Also, we like saving a little step and simply removing the casings from our Italian sausage links (or purchasing bulk) and just crumbling the sausage as it browns, rather than cutting it into slices. Use whichever method you prefer.

Orecchiette: We're not always able to find whole-wheat or whole-grain orecchiette in our local stores, but we try to use whole-grain pastas whenever we can. If you can't find whole-grain orecchiette, you might try substituting any other small pasta shape that your store offers in a whole-grain variety.

For reheating: If you happen to have leftovers from this recipe, we found that adding just a little bit of additional leftover vegetable broth loosens and remoistens this pasta beautifully during reheating.

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Two Healthy Kitchens