We discovered a nice grocery by the doctor’s clinic I went to the other day in Sunrise Hastings. It was well stocked and had a great selection of both Western and Eastern ingredients, as well as local and organic produce. I appreciate discovering a good food neighbourhood find as much as I appreciate a good, independent bookstore or a cosy little neighbourhood cafe. Oh, this place is a good find.
It turned out to be Donald’s Market, disguised as a huge, organized Mom and Pop corner produce store. They have a few locations but none are in Gastown, which is really a pity because I’d shop there all the time. Prices were much lower than all of the supermarkets in our neighbourhood and I hear that they also have the best prices in town for organic produce. We went home with a lot of goodies like fresh, local sausages, purple and orange cauliflower, different kinds of mushroom, and pappardelle.
Whenever I go to the grocery, I buy ingredients that give me options to create delicious pasta meals that I can plan ahead for the week. Pasta is my go to because they’re easy to prepare and always satisfy my carb addiction. Last night’s dinner was with the beautiful Fraser Valley spicy Italian sausage, local spinach from Burnaby, shimeji mushroom, and pappardelle pasta that we picked up from Donald’s. As always, it took no time at all and was absolutely delicious. Sweet from the caramelized onions, a little heat and a lot of flavour from the spicy Italian sausage, brightness from the spinach, a nice texture from the soft mushrooms, and that velvety, creamy, flavourful sauce.
You can switch up the spinach for another green like arugula or broccoli rabe, and the shimeji mushroom for shitake. Flexibility makes this dish perfect for weeknight meals when the last thing you want to do is have to run out to the grocery for just one thing. Just customize this pasta to what you have on hand.
If time is your friend and you’re considering making your own spicy Italian sausage, check out this recipe.
Creamy Italian Sausage, Mushroom and Spinach Pasta
What you need:
1 large onion, diced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
6 tablespoons of olive oil
1 lb. or 4 pieces of spicy Italian sausage, casing removed
150 grams or 1 bunch brown shimeji mushroom
2-3 large handfuls of spinach
2 cups cream
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated (or more to taste)
Pappardelle (or any pasta of your choice)
3/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
What to do:
- Boil pasta in well salted water with a drizzle of olive oil until al dente. Set aside and reserve pasta water.
- Heat up olive oil in a large pan.
- Saute garlic and onion until translucent.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Add Italian sausage and break up meat in the pan. Once the meat has been broken up, lay it out in a single layer for about 10 minutes before flipping in order to brown the meat nicely.
- Flip the meat and let it cook in a single layer to brown the other side.
- Add the shimeji mushroom, stir well to combine.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Add cream. Once the sauce starts to bubble, turn heat down to a simmer and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.
- Add the spinach, stir to combine and to wilt the spinach.
- Add the pasta.
- Add grated parmesan cheese.
- Add pasta water a little at a time until you get the right creamy consistency with enough sauce to coat all the noodles well.
- Add the toasted pine nuts.
- Serve and enjoy.