by michael on September 10, 2011

 Eating a delicious meal with one’s family is, of course, a blessing and a joy. Preparing the meal with one’s family, particularly with one’s children, transcends joy. Working together offers benefits too numerous to name but speaking, sharing ideas, inspiring creativity and learning useful culinary skills vie for the top of the list.

My son, Erik, for example, has developed into an enthusiastic and creative chef. He began helping me in the kitchen when he was just seven or eight. Now he chops up garlic with the speed of a Cuisinart and blends herbs and spices with vegetables and meats with the originality and art emblematic of fine winemakers perfecting their blends.

Yesterday I received an email from Luanne Savino O’Loughlin, Manager of the website boasting delectable Italian foods and olive oils, email I wrote about Luanne and her recipes on my blog, 7/19/11, PASTA, OLIVE OIL, FAMILY AND MEMORIES

Luanne’s email listed marvelous pastas, olive oils, of course, and a pasta recipe that appears to be capable of transporting the palate as well as satisfying the appetite. Visit Luanne’s website. I will, for I am almost out of my favorite Tuscan olive oil. Here is the recipe:

The Family Dish: My daughter’s ziti

By Domenica Marchetti
This simple flavor-packed ziti dish was dreamed up by Domenica Marchetti’s daughter, Adriana.

This sauce in this dish has no tomato. The primary ingredient is chicken sausage, but any sausage impresses me to be deliciously interchangeable.

The cream is lightened or cut by chicken broth. For color and nutrition, Adriana added spinach and finished the sauce with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Domenica invites you to share your favorite dishes: E-mail her at


Ziti With Chicken Sausage, Spinach and Cream

4 to 6 servings

We usually serve this as a one-dish meal. But if you like, you can slice up a couple of tomatoes, season them with olive oil and salt and serve those as a light side dish.

To drink: Try a Falanghina, a dry white from southern Italy.

1 tablespoon salt (for the cooking water, plus more as needed)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, flattened but left whole

12 ounces cooked chicken sausage (3 to 4 links), cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick coins

8 to 9 oregano leaves, chopped finely (about 1 teaspoon)

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup heavy cream

5 ounces fresh baby spinach

Freshly ground black pepper

1 pound dried ziti or other short, sturdy pasta

1/4 to 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for garnish

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the 1 tablespoon of salt.

Heat the oil and garlic in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the garlic has softened. Do not let it brown or it will turn bitter.

Add the sausage and oregano; cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until the sausage pieces are nicely browned. Increase the heat to medium; stir in the broth. Cook for 15 minutes, or until the broth has been reduced by about half.

Stir in the cream; cook for 5 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened to form a sauce. Add the spinach leaves by the handful and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, just until wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat. Cover to keep warm.

Cook the pasta in the boiling water, just until the pasta is al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.

Add the drained pasta to the skillet; toss gently but thoroughly to coat. Discard the garlic, if desired.

Divide among individual shallow rimmed bowls. Spoon equal amounts of any sauce left in the skillet on top of each portion, then sprinkle 1 to 2 tablespoons of cheese over each one.

Serve immediately.

More later

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