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Midweek Meal Miracle: Pasta with Sausage, Pears, and Goat Cheese

Tonight's offering--Pasta with Sausage, Pears, and Goat Cheese--is a one-pot meal that tastes like something you could order in a fancy restaurant. First you saute inexpensive, low-fat Italian turkey sausage with sweet onions, then add chicken broth and pasta, which cook along with the sausage and onions. I use large tubular pasta--paccheri--but rigatoni or something similar would be just fine. When the pasta is barely soft and much of the liquid is gone, you add sweet, ripe pears and handfuls of nutrient rich spinach. Earthy goat cheese gives the dish tang and keeps it from being too sweet. Finish the dish with some crunchy toasted walnuts. You'll have a midweek miracle: a fast, easy cleanup, nutritious dinner that's fit for company if you decide to share it.

Pasta with Sausage, Pears, and Goat Cheese

Pasta with Sausage, Pears, and Goat Cheese -- Serves 6

1 teaspoon of canola oil

16 ounces of sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed

1 large onion, chopped

4 cups of reduced sodium chicken broth (or use chicken reduced sodium "Better

Than Bullion" reconstituted)

16 ounces of large tubular pasta

4 ripe pears, cored and sliced into 1/4-12 inch pieces

6 cups of spinach, washed well

1 cup of light sour cream

1/2 teaspoon of lemon pepper

1/2 cup of goat cheese crumbles

1 cup of toasted, chopped walnuts

Heat a large skillet or chef's pan over medium high heat and add the oil, swirling it in the pan. Add the turkey sausage and break it up with a spatula. Brown the sausage for about 5 minutes and add the chopped onion. Let the onion cook for about 5 minutes and add the broth. Bring the mixture in the skillet to a boil and stir in the pasta. Let the mixture in the pan cook, stirring it periodically and turning down the heat if necessary, until the pasta is barely soft--about 7 minutes--and the pasta has absorbed most of the broth. Add the pears. Stir in the spinach, a handful at a time, until the spinach wilts down. Stir in the sour cream and add the lemon pepper. Stir in the goat cheese crumbles, letting them melt into the sauce a bit. When ready to serve the pasta, sprinkle on the toasted walnuts.

Pasta with Sausage, Pears, and Goat Cheese

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