whole grain pasta

Pasta and portion control. Two areas of weakness for me. I’m actually going to try to make pasta less because I just can’t control myself around the stuff. This will be tough because pasta is so easy to make and it’s so versatile. On those busy days and nights it’s the perfect go to for a quick and tasty meal. But in an effort to eat less carbs and work on portion control I’m trying to branch out and make other things for dinner. That’s not to say I’m giving up pasta for good though (duh, I’m not crazy) as evidenced by the title of this blog post.

This particular pasta dish is actually quite filling which helps with the portion control aspect. It still requires some self control because it’s so delicious but the whole grain shells, the lean chicken sausage and the fresh spinach do help to fill you up. The wine adds another layer of flavor to the sauce and a pinch of red pepper gives the dish a kick. They say that spicy food helps make people feel more full. I haven’t found that to be true, but you may want to add more red pepper if you think you can handle the heat!

whole grain pasta

1 tablespoon of olive oil
5 sweet Italian chicken sausage links (or any sausage of your choice)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 cup of white wine
salt & pepper
1 10 oz. bag of fresh baby spinach
1 13.5 oz box of whole grain pasta shells
1/2 cup of parmesan cheese (plus extra for serving)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1. In a large pot or dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Brown the sausages on all sides until cooked through. Remove the sausage and place on a plate and cover with aluminum foil and set to the side for now.
2. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and cook the pasta according to package directions.
3. Add the minced garlic, diced tomatoes and wine to the dutch oven or pot with the sausage drippings. Scrape up any leftover brown bits at the bottom of the pan. Let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt & pepper.
3. Add the spinach in and stir until it wilts down.
4. Slice the sausages into bite sized pieces and add them to the pot. Let everything cook for 1 minute.

whole grain pasta

5. Drain the pasta when it is al dente. Add it to the pot with the other ingredients. Stir to combine.
6. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes. Stir. Serve in bowls with extra parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes.

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