Hello! Hope you had a nice weekend!
Ben and I kicked Friday night off with date night downtown, which started with drinks and ended with cake (how bad could that be?) Flourless chocolate cake from Cafe di Scala, to be exact. This sweet slice, complete with a birthday candle as Ben kept accidentally blowing out our romantic tabletop candle (sheesh!) was so dense and fudgy that it tasted like chocolate truffles in cake form. Wow, wow, wow!
We’ve been wanting to eat at the southern Italian eatery located in an incredibly romantic, old Victorian mansion for years, and I’m so glad we finally went. Every single thing we ordered, from bolognese sauce over baked polenta, to homemade sweet squash stuffed pasta with brown butter, was absolutely mouthwatering. Locals: this is a must try. I’m embarrassed that it took us this long to go!
The rest of the weekend could not have been more beautiful, so my Mom and I headed to the farmers’ market bright and early on Saturday morning. The air was crisp and the sun was shining – it really (finally!) felt like fall.
I left the little man at home to hang with Dad so we could take our time strolling the streets, and savoring every last cheesy morsel of our Pupusa, which was epic, btw.
Festive and unique pumpkins were in abundance this weekend…
And apples, too. I stocked up on a ton from my friends at Berry Patch Farms, who also come to the market every week. Their Honeycrisps are sweet and snappy – just the way I like ’em!
I spent the rest of the day running errands, so I made sure to slow it down on Sunday and spend lots of time with this little guy. Heart. Breaker.
Lincoln is in a fun phase right now. He’s quite the chatterbox, but loves to snuggle too. I don’t know what I love more – listening to him tell me about his dreams, or cuddling after he wakes up from them. Decisions, decisions! ; )
Yesterday I also tossed a few of my farmers’ market finds together with some fridge and pantry staples and whipped up Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage Pasta for lunch!
This dish is easy, nutritious, and full of yummy flavors – plus it can easily be made gluten-free. Cooked pasta is tossed with sauteed Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage, fresh apple, spinach, and white beans to create a quick and hearty meal that’s ready in about 20 minutes. No kidding!
Start by cooking 1lb gluten-free or regular gemelli pasta (or any short cut pasta) in a big pot of salted, boiling water until al dente. Before draining, remove 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water and set it aside. FYI this recipe makes a TON of food, but is very easily halved!
The star of this dish are these gluten-free Sweet Apple Chicken Sausages I found at the grocery store last week. I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do with them, but one look at the flavor combo, which includes maple syrup, had me hook, line, and sinker. If you can’t find this exact brand, just look for something similar.
Slice up the sausage along with 1 sweet apple (I used a Honeycrisp,) 1 large shallot, and 4 cloves garlic.
Heat 4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a very large skillet over medium-high heat then add the shallots and sausage and saute until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Next add the apple and garlic, along with a pinch of red chili pepper flakes, and saute until the apple is tender, about 5 minutes.
The red chili pepper flakes are optional, but I think they add a nice flavor contrast to the maple syrup and sweet bites of apple in the pasta!
Next add a 15oz can Great Northern Beans that have been drained and rinsed. Great northern beans are soft so when they’re tossed into the mix they lend a creamy consistency to the sauce. Fiber, vitamins, and minerals, too!
Finally add 6oz baby spinach and 1 cup chicken broth. Toss the spinach with tongs until it’s wilted, about 1 minute.
Add the mixture into the pot with the drained pasta then stir together with 1/3 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese, and enough of the pasta cooking water to keep the pasta nice and creamy.
Scoop onto plates, top with more parmesan cheese, if you please, then serve!
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Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage Pasta
Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage Pasta is nutritious, gluten-free adaptable, and ready in about 20 minutes!
- 1lb gluten-free or regular gemelli or other short cut pasta
- 4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large shallot or 1 small onion, chopped
- 12oz Sweet-Apple Chicken Sausage, sliced
- 1 apple, peeled then chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- pinch red chili pepper flakes
- salt and pepper
- 15oz can Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
- 6oz baby spinach
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta cooking water then drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat extra virgin olive oil in a very large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and sausage then saute until sausage is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add apple, garlic, and red chili pepper flakes, season with salt and pepper, and then saute until apple is tender, about 5 minutes. Add chicken broth, beans, and spinach then toss with tongs until spinach is wilted, about 1 minute.
- Pour sausage and apple mixture into pot with pasta then add parmesan cheese. Stir until combined, adding reserved pasta cooking water to reach desired consistency.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.
I am pumped for leftovers of this pasta! The sweet bites of fresh apple are divine with the maple syrup-laced chicken sausage, but the dish is brought back to the savory side with lots of garlic, chicken broth, and warmth from the red chili pepper flakes. Hope you enjoy this dish – and have a great week!