Baked Pasta with Spinach, Chicken Sausage & Vodka Sauce

We are HUGE fans of Vodka sauce… and cheese… and chicken sausage… and pasta… and spinach– this dish had it ALL! Even my most picky eater (my daughter) enjoyed it. ūüôā This recipe was adapted from Everyday Food. I increased the garlic, spinach, and fontina. It was delicious!! Perfect cold weather comfort food.

Yield: Serves 8

  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 8-9 cloves¬†garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup¬†vodka¬†(optional)
  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes with juice, lightly crushed with hands
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pound rigatoni
  • 16 ounces (1 pound) baby¬†spinach or chopped organic frozen spinach
  • 12 ounces smoked chicken sausage, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4 inch thick (I used roasted garlic chicken sausage)
  • 10-12 ounces fontina¬†cheese, about 8 ounces cut into 1/2-inch cubes and 2 ounces coarsely grated
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan¬†cheese

IMG_7337

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic. Remove from heat; add vodka, if desired. Return to heat; cook until almost evaporated, 1 minute.
  2. Stir in tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and oregano; cook until tomatoes are falling apart, 10 to 15 minutes. Add cream; cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook pasta in the boiling water until al dente, according to package instructions. Add spinach, and cook just until wilted, about 1 minute. (If using frozen spinach, cook for 3-4 minutes.) Drain, and return contents to pot.
  4. Add tomato sauce, sausage, and cubed fontina to pot; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into a lightly greased 13x9x2-inch baking pan.
  5. Top with grated fontina and Parmesan. Bake until browned and edges are crisp, 20 to 30 minutes.

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