February was National Sweet Potato Month, and I meant to share this recipe then… but I just didn’t get it written, maybe because I was too busy making it, twice. I debated waiting to post it until next February, but that seemed extreme. If you like sweet potatoes, I think you will also be happy I didn’t wait. This pasta dish is an easy weeknight meal, very little prep time needed, and just delicious. You can use any mild sausage you like, but I recommend chicken sausage, more specifically one with garlic and an Italian-style herb blend. Or, leave the sausage out completely; if you do so, consider replacing it with a minced shallot for flavor. I had never before considered using sweet potato with pasta, as I try to avoid starch on starch, but the natural sweetness is a perfect compliment to the slightly bitter spinach and nutty saltiness or Parmesan cheese. As we near spring greens season, don’t be shy about substituting other leafy greens for the spinach. This is a new favorite pasta dish for us, and one I hope you will also enjoy throughout the year.
Pasta with Sweet Potato, Spinach & Chicken Sausage (serves 3-4)
- 2 chicken sausages
- 1 T. canola or olive oil
- 1 c. sweet potato, peeled and finely diced*
- 3 packed c. fresh spinach
- lots of black pepper, freshly ground if you can
- 1/4 c. grated Parmesan, plus more to garnish
- 1/4 c. cream
- 8 oz. cooked pasta (I used gemelli)
Cook your pasta according to package directions. It takes about the same amount of time as the sauce does, but cook it ahead if you like.
In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the sausage links for about 8 mins., turning once or twice to brown evenly. Remove to a clean cutting board and slice into pennies. It’s okay if they’re not quite cooked through, as they will be cooked more later in the process.
To the same skillet, heat the oil and add the diced sweet potatoes. Cook for 5 mins., without stirring, over medium heat and then flip/stir and continue cooking for another 3-5 mins. Add the spinach to the pan and allow it to wilt for about 3 mins., stirring occasionally. (If your sweet potatoes start to stick, add water 1 T. at a time to loosen from the pan.) Return the sausage pennies to the pan and cook until they are no longer pink; add pepper.
Add the cooked pasta, cream and 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese and toss to combine. Keep the pan on the heat just until all the ingredients are warmed through and then serve immediately; garnish with additional pepper and/or Parmesan if desired.
*I cut the sweet potato into 1/4″ cubes; you can go slightly larger but may need to adjust cooking time accordingly.