Mangia! Penne with Sausage, Spinach & Tomatoes

by debi9kids on January 26, 2012

Russ is the cook in our home.
I’m the baker.
That’s not to say that I don’t cook at all, or that I don’t like to cook, but my passion is baking and Russ loves to cook.

He also likes to tease me about it because… I’m a baker.
I follow recipes.
Whether they are my own recipes or someone elses, I typically tend to follow some sort of guide when I cook a meal.

Russ doesn’t.
He likes to just throw together ingredients and 9 times out of 10, his meal is delicious.
Seriously, it’s more like every time.

I swear he gets it from growing up in a house where his father, a fire chief turned caterer, just threw together meals in the same manner… a self taught chef.

To say I don’t have a little jealousy that the kids get excited when I tell them “Dad is cooking tonight” would be a big huge fib 😉
(although, in fairness, I know they get excited when they smell something I have baking in the oven)

One of our favorites Russ just throws together are his pasta meals…
They are never quite the same because he measures absolutely nothing, but they are seriously always delicious and there is never enough left over.

He always starts with some sort of pasta (obviously 😉 ).
A favorite of ours is penne.He’ll cook it according to the box directions, drain the pasta, and then drizzle with olive oil & usually large amounts of minced garlic.

{Because, you can never go wrong with garlic!}

Typically, he will take some sort of protein, like chicken, sausage or seafood or a combination of a few, and saute it in a pan on medium heat in olive oil.
Once the protein is fully cooked, he’ll add vegetables of some sort (spinach, peppers, onions, asparagus are favorites) and he’ll saute those until tender.Then he adds diced tomatoes, mushrooms, capers, olives or any sort of additional add-ins that he thinks might be tasty (artichoke was especially yummy)…

Then he plates it.
Pasta first.
Topped with cheese.
(Parmesan, Romano, Mozzarella..whatever you like)
Top with a healthy serving of the meat and vegetable mixture.
Top with a sprinkling of cheese.Serve with crusty bread and a side salad.

And eat to your heart’s content.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Crista January 25, 2012 at 9:24 pm

I'm like you :). After about 5 years of marriage my husband finally stopped asking me, "Can't you just whip something up?" No, I cannot just whip something up. If I tried to make Russ' pasta, it would either turn out bland or it would be a garlic fest, neither of which works for me. Russ' looks delicious, tho!


debi9kids January 26, 2012 at 9:36 am


I tend to always be a little too generous on the garlic myself 😉


Barbara Manatee January 26, 2012 at 4:29 pm


Paul is also the main cook in our house. I CAN cook, but like you, I NEED a recipe. He can throw stuff together and make it wonderful! (Or take a recipe and make it even better/healthier!). That looks delicious!


Kathi January 27, 2012 at 8:53 am

Oh, Wow!! This food looks so good!! I'd love to try making pasta like this! Fabulous. You are a lucky wife. Thanks for sharing. Kathi


debi9kids January 27, 2012 at 9:01 am

Lucky. That's an interesting word. (I'm guessing you're new to my blog? ) I am finally starting to feel a little lucky again, but it's taken a LOT of work to feel that way about my husband again.
But thank you.


Cat@jugglingact January 27, 2012 at 7:08 pm

This looks totally yummy. We are exactly the same – I bake to a recipe, Hunter cooks and makes it up as he goes


Brandi January 9, 2013 at 3:59 pm

I'm seeing a theme worth the comments. I a recipe follower. After I've made it a few times I'll fiddle with the ingredients, but it takes me a while to do be comfortable enough to just toss something extra or leave something out. Chad is the opposite. He walks in the kitchen and just throws together a meal and the kids are all proclaiming how awesome it is. lol. Heck I still look at the recipe for tuna noodle casserole.


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