By JOE GRAY
Baby, it's cold outside, very cold. Even when you're shoveling the sidewalk, working up steam, it's still cold. And when you come in from the cold, you want something warming, and you want it right away.
This dish almost could be called "snow shovel soup" in honor of its warming properties after that hated winter task, but it's not quite a soup, nor quite a pasta dish. The broth gets added near the end, and it's just enough to float the stars of the dish: the sausage, greens and other vegetables.
All you need to add is a good crusty bread.
For dessert, a bit of a downscale guilty pleasure after the healthfulness of the main dish: canned cling peaches in heavy syrup (light syrup only saves you about 20 calories, so who are we kidding?). Serve them atop good-quality vanilla ice cream.
Sausage and greens in broth
Canned peaches and vanilla ice cream
A simple Rhone red
Use any greens you like, such as spinach, turnip or kale.
Instead of rotini or gemelli, try a smaller pasta like tubetti.
To save calories and fat grams, use turkey kielbasa, or other turkey or chicken sausage.
SAUSAGE AND GREENS IN BROTH
1/2 pound pasta, such as rotini or gemelli
1 pound kielbasa sausage
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, cut in 1-inch chunks
1 bunch mustard greens, sliced into 1-inch shreds
2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt, optional
Freshly ground pepper
Grated Romano cheese, optional
Heat a large saucepan of salted water to a boil; add pasta. Cook according to package directions; drain. Meanwhile, brown sausage on both sides in Dutch oven on medium-high heat, about 5 minutes; remove from pan. Reduce heat to medium; add onion and bell pepper. Cook until soft, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut sausage into 1/2-inch chunks; return to Dutch oven. Place greens on top of mixture; cover. Steam until just wilted, 5 minutes. Add broth; cover. Cook until warmed through, about 3 minutes. Add salt, if desired, and pepper to taste.
Divide pasta among 4 bowls; top with sausage and greens mixture. Sprinkle with grated cheese, if desired.
Yield: 4 servings.
Nutrition information per serving: 621 calories, 48 percent of calories from fat, 33 g fat, 12 g saturated fat, 76 mg cholesterol, 51 g carbohydrates, 29 g protein, 1,898 mg sodium, 5.5 g fiber.