Weather: sunny with vibrant blue skies
What I’m listening to: Hey Now, Dave Barnes

I’ve watched chefs roast garlic on television for years, but this was the first time I tried it for myself. It’s so incredibly simple and the results are amazing. One whole head of garlic in this dish? Yes – roasted, golden, sweet garlic. And it’s not overpowering? No, it’s really not.

This is a perfect summer pasta dish because it’s on the lighter side when it comes to creamy sauces – no cream and no cheese. It’s made up of a simple béchamel sauce of milk thickened with butter and flour, then bolstered with fresh herbs and that roasted garlic. Then, we toss in heaps of fresh spinach until just wilted. I’m hoping you have some of these fresh ingredients in your summer garden or from your local farmer’s market. This dish is simply dreamy.

Creamy Roasted Garlic Pasta with Spinach & Sausage

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Adapted from [Bev Cooks|http://bevcooks.com/2012/05/creamy-lumaconi-with-italian-sausage-and-spinach/]

Yields: 4 servings

  • 1 head of garlic, whole with end sliced off
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 3c large shell pasta (or penne)
  • 1lb Italian sausage links, casings removed (I used sweet sausage, but hot would also be tasty)
  • 4T butter
  • 4T flour
  • 2c milk
  • 1 thyme sprig, leaves removed
  • 1 oregano sprig, leaves removed
  • 3c spinach, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • red pepper flakes, for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 400. Place the garlic head in a small piece of aluminum foil, drizzle with oil, seal and roast for 35 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a small sauce pot, melt the butter. Add the flour, whisking constantly for 1 minute. Slowly add the milk, continuing to whisk another 5 minutes or so until the sauce gets thick and creamy. Add in the herbs, a generous pinch of salt and pepper and whisk a little more. Transfer cream sauce to a small food processor or blender. Add the roasted garlic cloves by squeezing them out of the skins and pulse sauce until very smooth. Cover to keep warm.

In the meantime, heat a medium skillet over medium high. Add the sausage and break up with a wooden spoon, cooking until browned all over, 6-8 minutes.

Also in the meantime, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and boil until al dente. Drain and return to the pot.

Pour the cream sauce over the pasta, along with the spinach and sausage. Toss to coat until spinach just begins to wilt. Taste for seasoning. Serve hot.

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