Rigatoni with Charred Cherry Tomatoes, Spicy Chicken Sausage and wilted spinach

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Hi everyone, Chef Piet here,

Today’s recipe is for a delicious, hearty meal that you can make in under 30 minutes, Whole Grain Rigatoni with Chard Cherry Tomatoes, Spicy Chicken Sausage and Wilted Spinach. It is a perfect heart-healthy dish for all the snowy winter nights we’re having up here in the north east. The tomatoes are literally bursting with flavor and the spicy sausages will awaken your taste buds. With only a 1/4 of the fat compared to pork sausages, chicken sausages a are great choice for lean protein. Whole grains are a good source of fiber and other important nutrients, such as selenium, potassium and magnesium. I recommend choosing whole grains over refined grains as much as possible. This entire meal is under 700 hundred calories a portion including a 6 oz. glass of wine and serving of bread. For dessert, try some sliced apples drizzled with honey.


Serves 4

Non-Fat Cooking Spray

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T aged balsamic vinegar
  • 1 t fresh thyme
  • 1 t fresh oregano chopped
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 8 oz spicy chicken sausages – 2 to 3 fully cooked (Try Al Fresco chicken sausages)
  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts or walnuts
  • 8 oz whole grain rigatoni
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan reggiano
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Generously season with salt. Follow directions to cook rigatoni until al dente. Reserving 1 cup of pasta water. Return cooked rigatoni to pot and keep covered.

While pasta is cooking, roast raw nuts on cookie sheet in oven for about 10 minutes, shaking halfway through, until golden brown. Check after 8 minutes to make sure they don’t burn.

Heat a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Spray with cooking spray. Cook chicken sausages about 7 minutes, turning frequently, until golden brown. Remove from skillet and turn heat to high. Cut sausages into large bites.

Toss cherry toms with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh herbs and salt and pepper to taste. When the skillet is smoking hot, add the tomato mixture and cook until the tomatoes are lightly charred and about to burst, 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add in the spinach, chopped chicken sausages and 1 cup of reserved pasta water. Gently stir until spinach wilts, about another minute or so.

Toss with rigatoni and divide amongst four plates. Season with a few twist of fresh ground pepper and garnish with toasted pine nuts and parmesan cheese. Serve a with some sliced whole grain bread and a nice glass of Malbec.

Bon appétit!

Chef Piet,


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