The dreaded question of “what’s for dinner?” is a tough one for almost ALL of us. But in our house, we have an extra layer added to our dinner challenge. While I am primarily a plant based eater, the other five people in my family…..well, not so much. As much as JonPaul and the kids support me being a vegetarian, and eat a lot of my vegetarian cooking, they still enjoy having a few meat dishes around our table every now and then.
So I’m working on finding a balance, and not being so strict about my eating restrictions, or theirs. This pasta dish is one of those “balancing acts”. It’s packed full of veggies for me, a little bit of sausage for JP and the kids, and pasta for all for us (I mean, who doesn’t love pasta?). All in all, I’d say this family dinner was a home run. Not one person complained – and that my friends, is worth it’s weight in gold.
This pasta with sausage, sweet potatoes and swiss chard makes a great weeknight dinner. It is so simple and easy to prepare, that it works great for those busy week nights. A lot of the prep work (like chopping the shallots or sweet potatoes) can even be done a day or two before. So this recipe can really come together in less than 15-20 minutes, and you have a complete meal. Is there anything better than that?
This recipe really only calls for two pots. One to boil your pasta, and one…..well, for everything else.
I was really excited to make this dish the other night, because I’ve been wanting to try out my new chef’s pan from Calphalon, and I have to say, I loved it. The pan was thick, substantial and heated evenly. I loved how deep it was too, so it could hold all of the the yummy veggies and pasta. It worked great.
And can we talk for a minute about this sweet butternut squash, with the earthy chard, and those salt pine nuts? The whole combination just screams fall comfort food. Sweet, salty, creamy and crunchy. The perfect warm and hearty meal for these cooler, darker, nights.
When I made this for my family the other night, I made this no knead artisan bread to go along with it, and the combination was a home run. Let’s just say we’re getting our fair share of carbs over here in the Rexing house this fall.
This is a new staple recipe for our family that we will be making on repeat this fall – and I have a feeling you may too.
- 1# of uncooked ziti (or pasta of your choice)
- 4 tbsp of olive oil
- 2 shallots, minced
- 12 oz of chicken sausage, sliced ¼" thick
- 2½ cups of cubed sweet potatoes
- 8-10 large stalks of swiss chard, roughly chopped
- 3 tbsp of pine nuts, lightly toasted
- pinch of nutmeg
- Fill a large pot with water, set over high heat and bring to a boil. Add a generous amount of salt. Then add your pasta noodles (I used ziti). Stir, and allow noodles to cook for 7-9 minutes or until just al dente.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, over medium heat, add 3 tbsp of olive oil and add the sweet potatoes. Cook the sweet potatoes for 3-5 minutes until they begin to caramelize/brown.
- Next add the sliced chicken sausage and shallots. Mix and allow the vegetables and sausage to continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes, just until the sausage begins to brown.
- Next add all of the chopped swiss chard, Lower heat to medium low, add a pinch of nutmeg and a sprinkle of salt/pepper, stir all together.
- Before pasta is done cooking, use a ladle or a measuring cup to carefully scoop out about a cup of the pasta cooking water. Set aside
- When the ziti/pasta is done cooking, drain the noodles and then add them to the skillet with the vegetables and sausage. Stir to combine.
- Slowly add a little bit of the pasta water to the pan, along with a little drizzle of olive oil, and heat all together over medium low heat. Add more of the reserved pasta water as needed (the starch from the cooking water will help create a "sauce"). Stir all together to combine.
- Finish with a sprinkle of the toasted pine nuts and enjoy!