Penne Pasta with Spicy Italian Sausage, Mushrooms, and Spinach
Penne Pasta with Spicy Italian Sausage, Mushrooms, and Spinach is easy to make a loaded with flavor. Use Pasta Recipes for more recipes like this one. And if you’re watching carbs you can make this or any pasta dish lower in carbs by using less pasta and more vegetables and meat.
I first made this Penne Pasta with Spicy Italian Sausage, Mushrooms, and Spinach back in 2010, and when I found out it was World Pasta Day I posted the recipe right away, even though I didn’t like the original photos much at all. Now my photo skills have definitely improved and it wasn’t a hardship at all to make this again to get better photos.
Before I get to the recipe I want to say a little about the controversy surrounding Dreamfields Pasta. I hadn’t heard that Dreamfields had been forced to remove the low-carb label from it’s packaging until someone on the Kalyns Kitchen Facebook page told me about the lawsuit, and when I googled for more information, the more I read the more confused I got.
All around the web I found individuals reporting they had used it with good results, and the America Diabetes Association had tested it and found it didn’t spike blood sugar as much as regular pasta when used according to directions to cook al dente and not reheat the pasta. But just as many sites pointed out other studies that didn’t confirm the low-carb claims Dreamfields had made, and Dreamfields did settle the lawsuit and agreed to remove the words ‘low carb’ from their packaging for one year.
After a lot of reading I’ve decided for my own use I’m going to go with my personal experience with Dreamfields, which is that when I have cooked it according to directions (and avoided reheating) it has never caused me to gain weight. If you need to limit your carb consumption for medical reasons, I urge you to start googling and draw your own conclusions.
If you’re eating Dreamfields for the South Beach Diet, you might want to switch to whole grain pasta, which is approved by the diet. Another good trick is to use far less pasta than a recipe calls for so there’s a greater amount of lower-carb vegetables and meats in proportion to pasta. (I probably would have done that with this recipe if I’d read about Dreamfields before I made it.)
(Penne Pasta with Spicy Italian Sausage, Mushrooms, and Spinach was updated with better photos and thoughts about Dreamfields Pasta, May 2014.)
I crisped the spinach in cold water at the same time I started the pasta water cooking. (You may not need to do this if your spinach is fresh and already washed!) Cook pasta in boiling salted water until just barely al-dente (exactly 9 minutes for Dreamfield’s pasta, but check the package for cooking time if you’re using something else.) Wash the mushrooms and cut into thickish slices. I used brown Baby Bella (Crimini) mushrooms.
I used Hot Turkey Italian Sausage, so I browned it to cook the sausage, then sliced it and browned the slices again. (You could also use precooked chicken or turkey sausage.) After you remove sausages from the pan, add a bit more oil and saute the mushrooms for 3-4 minutes, until they are starting to release their liquid. Then add the red onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes and saute about 5-6 minutes more, until mushrooms are lightly browned and onions are cooked.
Put sausage back into the pan, add the chicken stock and simmer 2-3 minutes, or until sausage is hot. Then add the spinach all at once, tossing with the hot sausages, mushrooms, and onions until the spinach wilts. You’ll only need about 2-3 minutes until the spinach has wilted into the dish.
Add the pasta and heat for a minute or two. Then add both kinds of cheese and toss until the cheese melts and coats the pasta, about 2-3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper and serve.
More Tasty Pasta Recipes:
Pasta Recipes Index ~ Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker
Baked Whole Wheat Spaghetti Casserole with Turkey Italian Sausage and Mozzarella ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Whole Wheat Penne Pasta with Sausage, Fennel, Tomato, and Olives ~ The Perfect Pantry
Pasta with Hot Italian Sausage, Kale, Garlic, and Red Pepper Flakes ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Penne Pasta with Spicy Italian Sausage, Mushrooms, and Spinach
Penne Pasta with Spicy Italian Sausage, Mushrooms, and Spinach is easy to make a loaded with flavor.
- 3 links (3/4 pound) hot turkey Italian sausage (or use pre-cooked chicken or turkey sausage of your choice)
- 2-3 T olive oil (depending on the pan and whether you use pre-cooked sausage)
- 3/4 lb. thickly sliced mushrooms, or more (I used brown Crimini mushrooms)
- 1/2 red onion, cut into thin slivers
- 5 cloves finely minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
- 10 oz. baby spinach leaves (or more)
- 1 1/4 cup chicken stock (I used homemade chicken stock, but you can use canned chicken broth)
- 1/2 lb. (2 cups dry) penne pasta (use whole wheat penne or Dreamfields for the South Beach Diet; you can also make this lower in carbs by reducing the amount of pasta)
- 1 cup low-fat mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (plus a little more for serving if desired)
- salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
- Fill a medium-sized pot with water, add a generous amount of salt and bring to a boil to cook the pasta.
- Wash spinach if needed and spin dry or dry with paper towels.
- If using raw turkey Italian sausage like I did, heat about 2 tsp. olive oil in large heavy skillet, add sausages and cook until they are firm and well browned.
- Let sausage cool, then slice in rounds and brown again, adding a bit more oil if needed. (If you use pre-cooked turkey or chicken sausage, just slice and brown the sausage.)
- As soon as pasta water boils, add the pasta, stir, reduce heat to a low boil and cook just until pasta is al-dente. This was exactly 9 minutes for the Dreamfield’s pasta I used, but check package for cooking time.
- Drain cooked pasta in a colander placed in the sink.
- While pasta cooks slice mushrooms and red onions and mince garlic.
- Remove browned sausage to a bowl, add a little more oil to the pan and add mushrooms, cooking 3-4 minutes or until they start to release liquid.
- Add the red onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes and cook about 5-6 minutes more, or until mushrooms are lightly browned and onions are cooked.
- Put sausage back into the pan with the mushrooms and onions, add the stock (I used homemade chicken stock, but you can use canned chicken broth) and cook 2-3 minutes, or until the sausage is hot.
- Then add the spinach all at once, tossing with the hot mushrooms-sausage mixture until the spinach wilts, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the drained pasta and heat for a minute or two.
- Then add both kinds of cheese and toss until the cheese melts and coats the pasta, about 2-3 minutes.
- Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper and serve hot, with more Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on at the table if desired.
The original recipe by Russel Ito and featured in Bon Appetit October 1998.
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
If you’re making this for the South Beach Diet, they recommend whole wheat penne, low-fat mozzarella, and low-fat turkey or chicken sausage. With those cautions, this Penne Pasta with Spicy Italian Sausage, Mushrooms, and Spinach would be suitable for phase 2 or 3 of the South Beach Diet. You can also use less pasta and more of the meat and vegetables if you want to make this a lower-carb version of this recipe.
Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into this nutrition analyzer, which will calculate it for you. Or if you’re a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.