Italian Sausage Linguini with Asparagus, Spinach and Artichokes
• 3 sweet Italian sausage links, casings removed and crumbled
• 1 onion, finely diced
• 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
• Black pepper
• Pinch red pepper flakes
• 6 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
• 2 tablespoons tomato paste
• ½ cup red wine
• 1 ½ (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes (42 ounces total)
• 12 ounces thin asparagus, bottoms trimmed, and cut into small pieces on the bias
• 1 cup frozen, quartered artichoke hearts, thawed
• 2 cups baby spinach
• 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
• 8 ounces (½ package) linguini pasta, cooked according to package instructions
• ¼ cup julienned or torn basil leaves
• Shaved parmesan, for garnish
Place a large, heavy bottom braiser or Dutch oven-style pan over medium-high heat, and drizzle in about 2-3 tablespoons of the oil; once the oil is hot, add in the crumbled Italian sausage, and cook, breaking it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until browned; remove with slotted spoon and set aside for a moment.
Into the drippings left behind from the sausage, add the diced onion, and saute that for about 1-2 minutes; then, add in the Italian seasoning, a couple of pinches of salt and black pepper, and a pinch or two of red pepper flakes, and stir; continue to cook for several more minutes until the onion becomes golden and softened.
Next add in the garlic, and once it becomes aromatic, add in the tomato paste, and stir to combine, cooking the mixture for about 1-2 minutes to brown the tomato paste a bit.
Add in the red wine to deglaze the pan, and allow it to reduce until it thickens, about 30 seconds-1 minute.
Add in the 1 ½ cans of crushed tomatoes, and add back in the browned Italian sausage, and allow the sauce to gently simmer, with lid partly askew, for about 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, add in the asparagus pieces and the artichoke hearts, and allow the sauce to simmer for 3-5 minutes more, or until the asparagus is crisp-tender; add in the baby spinach and the parsley, and stir to blend, and wilt the spinach into the sauce.
Add your cooked linguini into your sauce, and using tongs, carefully toss to coat in the sauce, and serve garnished with fresh julienned basil and shaved parmesan, if desired. (You can also just ladle the sauce over your linguini, as well.)