As with any pasta dish, I tend to have lots of grated or shredded parmesan cheese on my dish. In truth, I've been known to say, "I like a little pasta with my cheese." :)
Feel free to use sweet Italian sausage, instead of spicy, and kale instead of spinach. It's all about your own taste preference, right? Another good alternative I've used in place of spinach is chopped zucchini. Just saute the zucchini with the leeks before adding with the rest of the ingredients. Easy, peasy.
Orecchiette Pasta with Sausage, Tomatoes, Leeks, and Spinach
3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
16 oz bulk spicy Italian sausage (remove casings)
2 leeks, cleaned and chopped
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary (or use 1 ½ tsp of ground rosemary)
1 14-ounce can small tomatoes (or you can use diced)
16 oz orecchiette pasta
6 cups baby spinach
Grated parmesan cheese
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
In the meantime, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in large frying pan over medium heat. Add the sausage, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon. Cook until browned, approximately 5-7 minutes. Add the leeks and rosemary and cook for five minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices and ½ cup of the boiling water. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Simmer while the pasta is cooking.
Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the directions. Reserve another ½ cup boiling water.
Drain cooked pasta and add to the tomato, sausage, leeks mixture, along with the spinach. When spinach is wilted (about 1 minute), gradually add the ½ cup pasta water. Season with salt, pepper, and a drizzle of additional olive oil.
Sprinkle the cheese over the pasta and toss well. Serve with additional cheese.