Thursday, December 07, 2006

Quick & Healthy: Sausage, Spinach & White Bean Ragout

Tuesday night I sat at our table eating an Amy's Vegetable Lasagna that I cooked in the microwave. Mike was sitting on the couch watching Jeopardy, having already polished off some leftovers. This is generally the scene in our house when it's been a long day and we're too busy to plan and execute a real dinner. I don't necessarily mind nights like this, but I didn't want the rest of this harried week to come and go without sitting down to a nice meal with my husband.

The next day, in the midst of a busy morning at work, I started digging around online for dinner ideas. I did not know what I was in the mood for, but I needed it to have a fairly short ingredient list with nothing so out of the ordinary that I couldn't find it at the supermarket during my lunch hour. When I don't know what I want, I usually end up searching through tons of online recipes, getting sidetracked by the siren call of a chocolate torte here or a cream pie there and still not finding something for dinner.

This time, I vowed not to be picky. All I wanted was something we could cook in less than 30 minutes and drink with a glass of red wine. I must have built up good recipe karma because right on the homepage of, I hit pay dirt. This quick and healthy gem was the "recipe of the day," and it fit all my requirements: simple ingredients, minimal prep, very healthy and amenable to a nice, inexpensive bottle of Sangiovese. This is a stew with less liquid, so it is quite attractive in a wide soup bowl with Parmigiano Reggiano sprinkled on top. Do use red potatoes, cut small so they cook quickly, for their smooth, waxy texture. Any sausage, even pre-cooked or vegetarian will work, just as long as it tastes good with your favorite weeknight wine.

Sausage, Spinach and White Bean Ragout
Adapted from Serves 3-4

Other greens like, swiss chard or mustard greens, would be great here (the original recipe called for escarole, but that's not exactly a staple in my supermarket). You could also add about 1/3 cup of white wine after cooking the sausage and onion, but we were drinking red.

1 tblsp. olive oil
3 spicy Italian turkey sausage links, casings removed (or any sausage you like)
1 c. onion, chopped
1 generous cup cubed red potatoes (about 1/2 inch)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15 oz.) can cannellini, or white beans, drained and rinsed
2 to 2-1/2 c. low sodium chicken broth
1 bag baby spinach
1/2 tblsp. fresh rosemary chopped (or substitue 1/2 tsp. dried)
Parmigiano Reggiano, for serving

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper, then add the sausage. If you are using pre-cooked sausage, slice it and add it when the onions are almost done. Break the sausage up into small pieces with a spoon as you cook. When the sausage is no longer pink and the onions are lightly browned, add the garlic, potatoes, beans and chicken broth. Use just enough broth to cover the potatoes. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 7 minutes. Add the spinach, a handful at a time, then add the rosemary. Continue to simmer uncovered for 4 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with grated cheese.


Rachel said...

Sound both yummy and easy!

Kristen said...

Ohhhh... I'm hungry now. It looks amazing!

Lis said...

That looks fabulous! I love between it and their annual cookbooks I've found so many great recipes! I'll be trying this one out, thanks =)

Carrie said...

This type of dinner is one of my staples. I love it because sausages freeze well, thaw fairly quickly, and you can get all different varieties. Try it with broccoli rabe (rapini), too!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Rachel and Kristen. Tonight is less than one week since I first made that dish, and I just cooked it again for myself. My husband just went out of town on business, and I'll be eating the leftovers for several more meals this week. Perfect.

Lis-I love my "Complete Cooking Light Cookbook." The have a light, healthy version of nearly any dish you could want.

Carrie-I totally agree. Sausage is so much less fussy to handle than chicken and easier to prepare than fish. You can get so many different healthy ones too. This would be great with broccoli rabe.

Scott at Real Epicurean said...

It may be quick, but it looks delicious. Perfect for this time of year.

Julie said...

Oops, I must have not signed in when I left that comment. I'm not trying to go incognito on my own blog!