Colorful Butterfly Pasta with Smoked Sausage and Baby Spinach

I love this dish for its simplicity and color. The spinach is added at the end, cooked in the residual heat of the pan and pasta mixture. Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese adds a smooth, creamy texture to the dish.

I’ve made this a number of times now, and it’s always a hit with the family. Served with warm garlic bread and a nice bottle of wine, who could ask for more?

Even picky Brother Dear ate this wonderful pasta dish, although he did leave a pile of spinach and bell peppers on the edge of his plate. All the while, he would tell Kiddo “don’t eat as I do.” Kiddo is much more adventurous than his Uncle Jimbo ever was.

After a week of snacking and cookies and finger foods, I thought it was time for something a bit more substantial on the menu. A pasta dish with tender baby spinach seems just the ticket. Now the real question is where did I put my cork screw opener? For Christmas this year, Little Sister and her Hubby gave us a bottle of Zamora Wine harvested from the grapes of nearby Dunnigan Hills.  To me, serving pasta is always a good excuse to uncork a bottle or two.

Saint Agnes Catholic Church – Zamora, CA

The Cathedral of Zamora (Spain)

Zamora is a town we pass through along I-5 on our way out to visit my sister. To say it’s a bend in the road would be generous. Blink and you will miss it. Yet the name sounds so exotic. I like the idea of living in Zamora – for no other reason than the name. As romantic as the name may sound, Zamora is actually a type of soil. The grayish brown, slightly acid loam (soil composed mostly of sand and silt, and a smaller amount of clay) common to the area is rich and fertile – ideal for row crops, orchards and grapes. This was once a booming agricultural town along the California railroad line. In 1930, when the pumps began to irrigate the fertile lands, Zamora truly began to “bloom”, no longer hindered by annual rainfall. Then the highway came through the center of Zamora, first in 1949, cutting the farming community in half. A modern “highway” rolled over Zamora in 1969, leaving in its wake nothing more than a town of less than 300 people, no public schools and an exit without services beyond the mini market. Still, the name is lovely, conjuring up images of the Cathedral of Zamora in Spain.


Colorful Butterfly Pasta with Smoked Sausage & Spinach
1/2 lb Butterfly (Bow Tie) Pasta; mixed variety (tomato; spinach; whole wheat)
12-16 oz Smoked Beef Sausage, coin cut
1 Teaspoon Oil
1 Leek, bulb only, peeled, quartered and sliced
1 Medium Bell Pepper – Orange or Yellow, cut into strips
3-4 Garlic Cloves, chopped
1 1/2 Cup Fresh Spinach, torn
1/4-1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a full boil.

While water comes to a boil, prepare other ingredients. Coin cut sausage, peel and quarter leak, cut bell pepper into strips and chop garlic, set aside. Tear baby spinach and grate Parmesan Cheese, set aside.

Place pasta in water and cook al-dente, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep pasta “dancing” in the water.

Place oil in a large non-stick pan and heat over medium-high heat. Cook Sausage, shaking pan, until the sausage has browned nicely and heated through, about 7 minutes. Remove sausage and set aside.

Lower heat to medium. Place leek and pepper into the same pan. Toss and cook until tender, about 5-6 minutes. Return sausage to pan, toss with leek mixture to blend flavors.

Drain pasta, shake off excess water. Place pasta into the pan with sausage. Remove from heat. Add spinach, garlic and cheese. Toss and serve.

Recuerde que debe disfrutar de su pasta con una botella de vino.
(Remember to enjoy your pasta with a bottle of wine).

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