Recipe Review: Spinach and Sausage Penne with Lemon Sauce

First of all, if you missed yesterday’s before and after man cave post click here for the reveal.


This recipe review came about because of a need to clean out my refrigerator last night.

I had breakfast sausage, frozen spinach, half and half, and veggie penne pasta.

Voila, this recipe was born.

It’s like a grown up version of Hamburger Helper.

And baby, it’s worth it. And it’s super easy and easy on the wallet. Trust me.

penne ingredients

pork and spinach

pasta and sauce


Spinach and Sausage Penne with Lemon  Sauce

adapted from Saveur Kale and Sausage Penne with Lemon Cream Sauce

Total cooking time- approx 30 min

serves 6

  • 3 tbsp olive oil (I used coconut oil)
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped (or one tsp garlic powder)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped (or two tsp onion powder)
  • 1 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
  • 1 pound breakfast sausage
  • 1 package frozen spinach, defrosted and drained (very well)
  • 2½ cups milk (or half and half)
  • ⅓ cup grated Parmesan
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice (or the juice and zest of one lemon)
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound dried penne pasta (or a mixed veggie pasta for extra nutrition)
  • 3 tbsp. dried parsley, for garnish
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella (optional)


1. Heat oil in a  large oven safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, onion and red chile flakes; cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes (don’t burn the garlic). Add sausage, and cook, using a wooden spoon to break it up into small pieces until browned, 16 to 18 minutes. (While the meat browning jump down to #2↓ and get your pasta water boiling). Add spinach, season with salt and pepper, and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes. Add half and half (or milk) and bring to a simmer; cook, stirring occasionally until reduced by a third, 7 to 8 minutes. Stir in Parmesan, lemon juice, nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper; set aside and keep warm.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add penne and cook according to the packaging, stirring occasionally until al dente. Drain, reserving ¼ cup cooking water; add both pasta and water to reserved sauce and cook about 5 minutes more. Serve garnished with parsley and cheese.*

*once I topped it with the mozzarella cheese and parsley I put the lid on the skillet and placed it in the oven on warm for about 1/2 hour while I finished prepping the rest of the meal. I thought the flavors were melded better after time in the oven.

Enjoy, (and the leftovers taste awesome reheated)!

And if you like this recipe, check out my other pasta recipes reviews on my Recipes: Tried and True page.

2 thoughts on “Recipe Review: Spinach and Sausage Penne with Lemon Sauce

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