Friday, November 19, 2010
Orecchiette with Sausage, Beans and Mascarpone.....a new favorite!
This pasta recipe has three of my top ten favorite foods in it: pasta, beans, and cheese. If I were to serve this with some sauteed greens, a hunk of good bread, and follow it with a piece or two of chocolate then I would be in pig heaven, literally.
I made Giada's Orecchiette with Sausage, Beans, and Mascarpone when I was low on time and craving comfort food. I expected to love it, but even I was shocked by just how much I loved it. Evidently my husband loved it too because he ate up all the leftovers when I wasn't looking and let me just tell you....I was not happy. A couple days later I went to the store and bought the ingredients again. I made it again last night and treasured every bite. There is just something about the way that orecchiette cradles the sausage and beans. It makes my mouth water just looking at it.
I made a few changes to Giada's recipe. I can never find turkey sausage, so I use 1/2 pound regular Italian sausage. I also add red pepper flakes (to taste), about a teaspoon of Italian seasoning, and a couple cloves of minced garlic. After cooking the sausage and onions, I deglaze the pan with about 1/2 cup of Marsala wine (not to be fancy, but mostly because I have a bottle I'm trying to use up). The wine isn't a necessary step, but it helps to get all the good stuff off the bottom of the pan and also helps to add color and a little bit more flavor to the meat. I've listed my changes below.
Orecchiette with Sausage, Beans, and Mascarpone
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis/TV Food Network
* 1 pound orecchiette pasta
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1/2 pound turkey sausage, casing removed
* 1 small onion, chopped
* 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano leaves
* 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 Marsala wine to deglaze pan after cooking sausage
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
In a large, heavy skillet warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and onions. Using a wooden spoon break up the sausage into bite-sized pieces as it browns.
Continue cooking until the sausage is golden and the onions are tender. (I deglaze the pan with about 1/2 cup Marsala wine and add the garlic at this point.) Add the beans and oregano cook for 2 more minutes. Add the cup of pasta cooking liquid and stir, scrapping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the mascarpone cheese and stir until it dissolved into a light sauce. Add the salt, pepper, and hot pasta. Stir until coated and serve.
Notes/Results: This pasta recipe is a winner for me! One of my new favorites to be sure. If you love pasta, beans and cheese as I do then this is your recipe. Also, if you like quick, easy, and economical, then this is the recipe for you. If you like creamy, comforting, satisfying and hearty pasta dishes than this is the recipe for you. If you like to be creative and change up recipes, then this is the recipe for you. Add some greens, spice it up, add more meat....whatever you like. You really can't go wrong!
Special Note: I think the shape of the orecchiette makes this recipe and have become enamored with the DeCecco brand, but it can sometimes be hard to find. If you can't find orecchiette in your market then shells would be a good back up.
This week at I Heart Cooking Clubs we are cooking up fall favorites. Since I've made this recipe twice and will no doubt be making it again, I think this qualifies as one of my fall favorites!