Orecchiette with sausage and spinach is simple and fast to make with a tasty Italian sausage, spinach, garlic, and white wine sauce. It's perfect for busy weeknights since it can be on your table in about 30 minutes!
Why you'll crave it
A 30-minute recipe that feels fancy but takes only half an hour to make? Yes please. It's actually kind of mind-boggling just how much rich taste is packed into this pasta since it has so few ingredients!
Did you know that orecchiette literally translates to "little ears"? I don't cook with it very often, but it's definitely a fun pasta shape to keep in your pantry. I think you'll love this orecchiette pasta recipe since it's the ideal pasta shape to hold the tasty white wine sauce from scratch.
Everything you'll need for this orecchiette pasta
- Orecchiette - you can use any shape you prefer, preferably a smaller one, but it's worth using orecchiette here if you can find it! They're perfect little bowls for the sauce.
- Italian sausage - I used mild, but you could use hot to kick it up a notch
- Onion and garlic - these classic aromatics form the delicious base for the sauce
- Dijon mustard - don't skip the Dijon! It isn't overpowering, and it's my favorite ingredient to infuse a fantastic savory quality.
- White wine - I recommend using a good dry white wine that you'd actually drink. Try a sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio, or even chardonnay.
- Spinach - fresh baby spinach pairs very well with the sausage
- Basil - optional, but it adds an additional punch of flavor
- Parmesan - freshly grated parmesan is a must to top off this pasta dish! Always grate your own for maximum flavor.
How to make orecchiette with sausage
This is an overview, and full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
- Boil a salted pot of water for the pasta and cook it according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, add the crumbled sausage and onion to a skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until nicely browed. Stir in the garlic, followed by the Dijon mustard and then the white wine.
- Let it reduce for a minute or two, then add in the basil and spinach and toss until wilted. Add the drained pasta, toss again, and serve with freshly grated parmesan!
Substitutions and variations
- If you want some spice, use hot Italian sausage and/or add a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes.
- You could swap the wine for chicken broth if you need to. In that case, you may want to double the Dijon mustard.
- This recipe is very flexible! You could throw in mushrooms or other veggies if you happen to have some that need using up to make this sauce for orecchiette your own.
- There is no cream in this recipe, but adding a splash towards the end of cooking would be a tasty addition.
- You can absolutely use kale or broccoli rabe instead of the spinach!
Leftovers and storage
- Leftovers of this pasta will keep for 3-4 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
- If you want to freeze leftovers, keep in mind the pasta and spinach won't be as good thawed as when freshly made, but it should be ok.
- Reheat over a low heat in a small saucepan until warmed through.
Hope you love this easy orecchiette pasta recipe! Questions? Did you make it? Leave me a comment or review below!
Orecchiette with Sausage and Spinach
- 8 ounces uncooked orecchiette pasta
- 16 ounces Italian sausages see note
- 1/2 medium onion chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 3 cups (packed) fresh baby spinach
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil optional
- Salt & pepper to taste
- For serving: freshly grated parmesan cheese optional, to taste
- Cook the pasta al dente according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, crumble the sausage meat into a skillet (take it out of casings if using whole sausages). Add the onion to the skillet as well, and sauté over medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes or until it's cooked through and nicely browned. If there's more than about 1-2 tablespoons of fat left in the skillet, spoon out the excess, but be sure to leave some since we're not adding any extra butter or oil.
- Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the garlic and Dijon mustard (cook for about 30 seconds).
- Pour in the wine and cook until reduced by half (about 1-2 minutes).
- Add in the spinach and basil. Toss (using tongs or two large spoons) until the spinach has wilted, then add in the drained pasta and toss again.
- Season with salt & pepper as needed. Serve immediately with freshly grated parmesan cheese over top.
- There is quite a lot of sausage in the sauce, so you could definitely get away with using a bit less than the full pound. Here in Canada, Johnsonville sausages come in a 500g pack (that's just over a pound, and I find it easiest to just use the whole thing). Whatever brand you like best will work just fine, and you can either take the sausage meat out of the casings or just use ground sausage meat.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.