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cleaning out the fridge

I’d like to think of cleaning out the refrigerator as an adventure. You dive headfirst into a great unknown, digging through oodles of mysterious containers and bags. Once in awhile, you’ll stumble across an unknown specimen that’s sprouting some delightful gray fuzz. But those other times, you’ll rummage through bins and discover that you have some vegetables just waiting to be used. Lucky for me, today was one of the latter occasions. I found a bit of baby spinach here, some cherry tomatoes there, and a mountain of garlic (there is no such thing as too much garlic). With my mom and sister en route and hungry from long hours of work, I slapped together this simple and hearty pasta.

There are still some kinks to be worked out with this recipe (read as: I have a bad tendency to not use measurements when cooking) but the end result was tasty! I should horde food more often and see what else I can scrounge up next.

Sausage and Friends Pasta (I lack creativity.)
measurements are really rough — experiment with it!
Serves 4 (or 3 ravenous people)

2 links of sausages (I used sweet Italian chicken sausage)
½ cup cherry tomatoes
2 handfuls baby spinach
1 zucchini, medium
1 onion, medium
3 cloves garlic
zest of 1 lemon
juice of ½ lemon
2 tsp dried basil
1 tbsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil to sauté and to finish
your choice of pasta

1.) Cook your choice of pasta according to the directions on the box, but make sure to under cook it a little bit because it’ll be cooked a little more once it’s mixed with the vegetables.
2.) Heat some olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Slice sausages into ½ inch disks and when the oil is heated, place the sausages face down into the skillet. Let them brown, about a minute to a minute and a half, and then flip over. Let them brown for about a minute and set the sausages aside in a separate bowl. Pour ¼ cup of water into the bottom of the pan and gently scrape to de-glaze the goodies stuck to the bottom and then switch off heat.
3.) Roughly chop the garlic and onion into ¼ inch pieces and set aside. Then, slice the zucchini into ¼ inch thick discs. Heat the pan that you used to cook the sausage on medium low and add the garlic and onions. Sprinkle with a little salt and give it a stir and let the onions cook for a few minutes before adding the zucchini. Cook until all the vegetables are tender (around 5 minutes).
4.) Add al dente pasta and return sausage to the vegetables in the pan. Slice cherry tomatoes in half lengthwise and that and spinach to the pasta. Mix well.
5.) On low heat, season the dish with basil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Grate lemon zest and squeeze lemon juice in as well. Toss, mix, and most importantly, taste!
6.) Turn off the heat and add about a tablespoon of olive oil to finish off the pasta. If you have some parmesan cheese, be sure to grate some over the pasta.