This is one of those meals that my Mom would often throw together on a weeknight in our pre-vegetarian days. It's basically just a mish-mosh of whatever you have on hand, but today I decided to highlight the basics. You cannot make an American Chop Suey without:
- Canned Tomatoes
- Bite Sized Pasta
- Garlic & Onions
- Ground Meat
Those are the basics, but you can dress this up by switching out the spinach for a more exciting green, such as brocolli rabe, or asparagus. The meat can be exchanged for beans if you'd prefer to keep things vegetarian, and the sauce can be enhanced by the addition of a special ingredient. Bacon, red wine, roasted peppers, you get the idea.
This particular Chop Suey was inspired by the previous weekend's activities. My buddy, Hilah, threw an epic sausage making party at her house the previous Sunday. There was meat mincing, sausage packing, and a whole lot of giggling going on that afternoon, and by the end we were each the proud owner of two varieties of handmade sausage. A sweet deal, if I do say so myself. I wasn't sure at first how to use my Spicy Italian Pork Sausage, but sooner or later Chop Suey popped into my head, and the rest is history.
By the way, I have to take a moment to gush over how delicious this was. I'm sure it will be dandy with store bought sausage, but the stuff we made that weekend was pretty damned amazing. Oh! The Flavors! Another thing that I suspect helped push this meal over the top was the use of a particularly good brand of canned tomatoes I just discovered. Just so you know, I have no attachment with this brand, I was just genuinely impressed by the flavor of these tomatoes. They were called Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Tomatoes, and man, were they tasty! Canned tomatoes have a tendency to be salty and bland in my experience, but these were really flavorful. I don't think I'll be straying from these canned tomatoes from now on.
Without further ado, I give you...
American Chop Suey
Makes at least six servings
- 1/2 lb. macaroni, or other small bite pasta
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 ounces loose italian sausage or ground meat
- 1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes
- 4 ounces fresh baby spinach
- Italian Seasoining (oregano, etc.) to taste
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Crushed Red Pepper to taste (optional)
Boil macaroni, shock, and set aside. Add oil to pan, then saute the onion and garlic until they just begin to clear. Add the sausage, cook until browned. Add tomatoes and seasonings, then simmer for about 10 minutes. Reduce heat, fold in spinach until wilted. Taste and season as needed before tossing with macaroni.