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Bell Pepper, Spinach and Sausage Pasta

This recipe was designed to serve 4 but makes a lot. If you want to make less the recipe can easily be reduced in half. I like to use WE Farm Hot Italian Sausage in this recipe. For more information on WE Farm meats and eggs check out The Wayne-Egenolf Farm website. For a meatless version you can substitute mushrooms for the meat and add some dried hot red pepper flakes.

1 pound Penne Rigate, rotini, or any short pasta.

1 pound hot Italian sausage, casings removed

1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/2 –inch pieces

2 cloves minced garlic

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

5 ounces (5 cups) organic baby spinach

1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup), plus extra for serving

Bring 4 quarts of water to boil. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon of salt to water and cook until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta water cooking water, then drain pasta. Return pasta to pot.

While the pasta is cooking, cook sausage in a skillet over medium heat, breaking up the pieces with a spatula until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Add bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften about 3 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes.

Add sausage mixture, spinach, Parmesan, and ½ cup reserved pasta cooking water to pasta and toss to combine, adding additional pasta water as needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese.

Bell Peppers

Bell peppers are a good source of dietary fiber, niacin, potassium, and manganese. One cup of raw green bell pepper provides vitamin K 9%, C 200%, E 12%, B6 22%. Although very similar in nutritional value green, red, and yellow peppers vary some in their vitamin C content. Green providing 200%, red 317%, and yellow a whopping 569% daily value per cup raw. Yellow peppers are also slightly higher in protein at 4% compared to 1% in the green and red. Red, yellow, and orange bell peppers have higher sugar content then green.

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