Do you ever have those days when you feel very lazy about cooking dinner? I’ve been there!
Before you pick up the phone to order takeout, let me show you one of my favorite quick and satisfying meals. It's a skillet pasta dinner and it only takes about 30 minutes to pull together.
This pasta with chicken sausage dish is my go-to dinner when I need an easy dinner. All I need is a bit of oil and 5 basic ingredients: chicken sausage, pasta, marinara sauce, spinach and cheese. That’s it. Depending on the amount of time I have to prepare dinner, I may throw in some diced peppers and zucchini to make it more filling.
I've included a quick marinara sauce in my recipe below, but if I'm in a rush, store-bought sauce is fine. You can also make the marinara sauce ahead and keep it frozen for quick, entirely from-scratch weeknight meals.
It’s very easy to customize the recipe to whatever ingredients you have on hand and how quickly you need dinner on the table.
Try this pasta dish the next time you want a fast home-cooked meal. I promise, it’ll be quicker and healthier than ordering takeout!
Pasta Skillet with Chicken Sausage, Cheese & Spinach
- For the marinara sauce (or substitute 2 1/2 to 3 cups store-bought sauce):
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups (180g) diced red onions
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 28-oz. (795g) can of crushed tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon honey or sugar
- 1/4 cup (5g) chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup (5g) chopped fresh basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- For the pasta:
- 8 ounces (225g) penne pasta
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound (450g) chicken sausage, cut into bit-sized pieces
- 4 to 6 cups (100g to 150g) baby spinach
- 1 1/2 cups (140g) shredded mozzarella cheese
- Chopped parsley, to garnish
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Make the marinara sauce (or substitute store-bought sauce):
Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large oven-safe sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened and translucent. Add the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add crushed tomatoes and cook until the sauce starts bubbling at a rapid simmer, 1 to 2 minutes.
Reduce heat to low and let the sauce continue slowly simmering for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix in honey, parsley, basil and oregano and cook for another minute. Season sauce with salt to your taste. Turn off heat. (Makes 2 1/2 to 3 cups; keeps 4 to 5 days refrigerated or 3 months frozen.)
Cook the pasta:
Bring 2 quarts of water to boil in a pot. Season with a generous pinch of salt. Once the water boils, add pasta and cook for 7 to 9 minutes, depending on how you like your pasta. Drain and run pasta under cold water. Set aside.
Make the sausage and spinach sauce:
Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped sausage and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until the meat is cooked through. Add pasta sauce and heat for a minute. Add spinach and fold it into the sauce. The spinach should start wilting in 30 seconds.
Bake the pasta:
Add pasta to the pan and stir until combined. Top with mozzarella cheese. Put the skillet in the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and slightly browned at the edges. For a quicker alternative, skip the oven and just stir the cheese into the pasta until the cheese is melted.
6 Top the pasta with chopped parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.