Quick Pasta Dinner: Shells with Sausage & Veggies

As much as I love it, I can’t say I have done much cooking lately.  One of the perks of living in India is being able to afford domestic help.  Once Molly was born, we employed a nanny to help look after her and to do some cooking.  This allows me to get some extra sleep (which I’ve done twice in 8 weeks!), go to the gym, run errands, etc.  She’s been cooking lunch/dinner when Molly naps, which has been fabulous & also means Jeremy gets to take homemade lunch to work everyday and I get to have something that didn’t come from a box whenever Molly lets me!  Molly decided she didn’t want an afternoon nap earlier this week and since she’s much more fun than being in a kitchen for most people, our nanny opted to play with her and I volunteered to do the cooking.  I really enjoy cooking so didn’t mind at all.  I also get the bulk of afternoon and evening with my little peanut, so taking advantage of some kitchen time is always worthwhile to me 🙂 This simple pasta dish is a good one to keep in your back pocket as it takes no more than 30 minutes and tastes DELICIOUS!  I make it with the vegetables that we like, but it would be good with anything that you want to try.  Hope you enjoy it!

sausage pasta

Shells with Turkey Sausage, Mushrooms, Spinach & Zucchini


  • 1 lb shells pasta (you can use anything, but I like shells so the sauce gets stuck inside each piece)
  • 4-6 Italian turkey sausage links or the equivalent amount in ground sausage (depending how meaty you like your sauces). If using links, remove mean from the casing and discard the casing.
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, julienned
  • 1 bag cremini or baby portobello mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 bunch / bag of fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1.5 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese


  1. In a large pot of boiling and salted water, cook your pasta until al dente (about 7-8 minutes). Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water, drain the pasta and pour back into the large pot.
  2. In a large sauté pan, add 1 tbsp. olive oil and brown sausage meat.  Remove from pan and set aside.  Add remaining 1 tbsp. olive oil along with mushrooms and zucchini. Cook for about 5 minutes, adding the garlic in the last minute.
  3. Add chicken stock to the sauté pan. Simmer with the mushrooms, zucchini and garlic for 2 minutes.  Add the spinach and let it wilt down, about 2 minutes.  Then add sausage back in.  Mix it all together.
  4. With the stove heat on low, add the sausage-vegetable mixture to the pasta and then add in the cheese in two parts, incorporating the first half before adding the second.
  5. Use the pasta water to thicken and smooth out the sauce.  Pour it in little by little – not all at once!  *Note* the sauce will thicken over time from the cheese and the starchy pasta water so you probably will not need the full cup of pasta water that you set aside. And you’re done!

You can serve this immediately or you can refrigerate it and have it at a later time.  I personally think pasta dishes are just as good leftover as they are when you first make them, and they are a breeze to reheat in the microwave in a matter of minutes – a mega plus for any busy person out there! If you try this, let me know how it turns out – Happy weekend all!!


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