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August 7, 2006

Chicken sausage (Recipe: farfalle or rotini pasta with spinach and sausage)

Updated March 2011.

Farfalle with spinach and sausage comes together quickly with ingredients from the pantry.

I didn't grow up in a sausage house, because link-style sausages need little girdles to keep them in shape.

We weren't strangers to girdles in my rather large-hipped family, but we were strangers to pigs.

Those sausage girdles — the casings — often start life as pigs' intestines and, as my mother grew up in a kosher home, we never had pork anything in our house. (Well, not entirely true. We did eat some pig. We ate Chinese food. And my dad snuck a can of SPAM every now and then.)

Sausages, sometimes thought of as "parts" food stuffed with ground-up bits and pieces that didn't make the cut, actually came into their own in the Middle Ages as a way to prepare salted meat.

Today, butcheries and catalogs sell gourmet sausages made from salmon, lamb, and the freshest herbs and seasonings. Chicken sausage, both sweet and savory, has become a fixture in my freezer. Even in our Rhode Island village, the grocery store stocks a variety of high-quality, all-natural chicken sausages.

Chicken sausage is super-lean, and the best brands are packed with flavor to compensate for lower fat content. You can use savory sausages for a less traditional breakfast dish, and sweet sausages with pasta or stuffing. At this time of year, you can make fabulous, last-minute chicken sausage kabobs, by alternating chunks of sausage with chunks of pineapple, red pepper, and red onion. Brush everything with a quick teriyaki marinade, and thread onto flat bamboo skewers. Cook on the grill, or under the broiler.

Chicken sausage

By reading the ingredient labels, I've discovered several pork-free brands. Casings might be synthetic or natural, and the natural casings come from pigs, lamb or beef. If pork is an issue for you, read the labels carefully, so you don't end up buying a chicken in a pig's girdle.

Pasta with spinach and sausage.

Farfalle or rotini pasta with spinach and sausage

Serves 4.

Ingredients

1 lb chicken sausage, sliced 1/2-inch thick
4 tsp olive oil
1 lb farfalle or rotini pasta, cooked according to package directions, drained (do not rinse), 1/2 cup cooking water reserved
1/2 small red onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 lb baby spinach
2 tsp oyster-flavor sauce
4 tsp reduced-sodium soy sauce

Directions

In a large frying pan, heat 2 tsp olive oil, and cook the chicken sausage over medium-high heat until it is browned. Add onion, red pepper and spinach, and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add oyster sauce and soy sauce, and stir to combine. Add cooked pasta, and cook together for 2-3 minutes until pasta is incorporated with the sausage and vegetables. If needed, add a few Tbsp of reserved pasta water.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]


More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Chickpeas with sausage and peppers
Linguine with sausage, peppers, leeks and tomato
Whole wheat penne pasta with sausage, fennel, tomato and olives
Split pea, sausage and preserved lemon soup
Fregula sarda with leeks and sausage

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Italian sausage stuffed chicken breast, from Gourmeted
Chicken sausages with white beans, from In Good Taste
Easy chicken sausage hash, from Whipped
Frittata with zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes, and sausage, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Pasta with chicken sausage and broccoli, from Sweetnicks

Comments

I never met a sausage that I didn't like! The place to go in Little Rhody for good homemade sausage is Tedescho's in Johnston. I find that there isn't any of that fatty stuff floating around in the links. They also carry some good cheeses and deli meats. They are pretty independent, in saying that, they are not open as much as one would like, so check the hours of operation before going.

Hey, thanks for the link to my sausage kabobs. It's a perfect recipe for summer when you're too busy having fun to cook anything fancy. I buy these kind of chicken sausages sometimes at Costco, a store I'm having quite a significant relationship with!

I love the variety of flavorings you can find now with chicken sausages. There is a spinach and feta chicken sausage out there that combines nicely with rice and veggies for a quick one pot meal. And I feel a lot less guilty about feeding "hot dogs" to my two year old now that he thinks spicy chicken sausage is the best thing on bun!

do you know where i can buy the sausage pictured above? jansal valley chicken sausage - sundried tomato/mushroom variety?

i have looked everywhere on the web and can't come up with a retailer.

thanks!

Suzy, the sundried tomato in my pantry is Al Fresco brand, from the supermarket. Jansal Valley is the house brand of Sid Wainer & Son in New Bedford, MA, and probably only available retail through them. They do have a web site (gourmetoutletofamerica.com), but they are primarily a wholesaler. Try the Al Fresco -- it's all natural, widely available, and truly delicious. Thanks for visiting the Pantry!

To whom it may concern:
Many years ago, probably back in the 50's and 60's one could purchase tomato sausages in R.I., a product that was not available in Massachusetts. I think Stop and Shop used to carry them but I'm not sure, maybe it was specialty shops. Would your sun dried tomato sausages be close to that product I remember? Please respond. Thank you!

Margaret, I haven't been in RI long enough to remember the tomato sausages, so I'll throw this out to any Rhode Island Pantry readers and their extended network of friends and family. Help, please!

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About The Perfect Pantry®

  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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