The first time I made this for my husband was the summer between my third and fourth year of University. We had reconnected after three years of pre-facebook-era no contact and after a week of talking for hours on the phone he was finally driving the two hours to visit me. So I did what any 20-year-old would do—I went to the market and picked up the ingredients to have a homemade dinner waiting for him. Weird—I know—but 100% the truth.
I was nervous about seeing him for the first time in so many years. I think deep down I knew that this was something special and I absolutely knew that I needed something to distract me when he walked through the apartment door. Dinner was the perfect distraction.
Not only was dinner perfect it was E-A-S-Y! So easy that even now that we've been married ten years (this October!) and we've added three kids to our regular meal rotation, I can still whip this up on a weeknight after work before hubby walks through the door (yes with a baby in my arms and a toddler wrapped around my leg)!
1 500g package of sausage
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 onion, sliced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 can crushed tomatoes
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
2 cups (or handfuls) fresh baby spinach
Optional: 1-2 Tbsp Italian seasoning (use only if sausage is not flavourful enough)
Using sharp kitchen scissors, simply cut the sausage into bite-sized pieces (think meatball-size).
Add olive oil, garlic and onion and sauté until sausage is cooked (approx. 7 minutes). You'll notice I use big slices of onion because my husband loves it but my kids... let's just say I need to pick it out before I put it in front of them.
Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and red wine. Simmer until thickened (approx. 20 minutes).
Boil the rigatoni.
Add the spinach and allow it to wilt.
Seriously don't worry about adding too much because it shrivels up in no time at all! This is what it looks like after only two minutes.
Drain pasta, heap some sausage and sauce onto it and serve. Trust me, you'll have him proposing in no time (at least I did a decade ago!)
Don't forget to top with parmesan cheese because as my ex-step-father's mother aka my lovely Italian grandmother (I'll leave that story for another time) says "you can no make nothing without a parmesan cheese."
PS: My husband loves when I make these Butter Tarts or these Mini Apple Pies for dessert too!