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
My Additions:
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!


  1. This is a wonderful dish - sure to come home to my table before Thanksgiving. I make my own turkey sausage with seasonings - a lot of red pepper, oreganno, fennel, etc. (Similar to what you added) or I buy the Jennie-O Italian sausage links when I can find them and remove casings. This does look luscious and leftovers would not last long in my fridge.

  2. What a beautiful dish. DEfinitely a comfort food. I like beans but, I love cheese and pasta more-so, we are alike on 2 of the 3 fav foods . :-)

    I don't suspect this dish would last very long in my house either. I have bookmarked it.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.


  3. This would be a total hit with my Italian family--I need to cook pasta dishes more often for sure!!

  4. Hmm mmm! Sounds delicious, especially with the creamy mascarpone! I love Giada's dishes because they're always simple but delicious. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Mmm, great fall fare. I love your changes too. Yum!

  6. Sounds like this is the recipe for me! I'd like your changes too.

  7. Man this dish has some of MY favorite things as well! I'll be that pig in heaven sitting next to you.

  8. Love the changes you made and your enthusiasm. Garlic, red pepper flakes, marslas, and Italian seasoning...outstanding! I also like your idea of adding greens. I'm addicted to spinach and love it mixed into pasta dishes. This is a great, inexpensive one pot meal!

  9. What a wonderful family meal!!! Looks comforting and delicious,Kim!

  10. mmm, creamy dreamy heaven indeed! it's got all the workings of a star dish, no wonder you made it twice. i actually went to the store the other day to find orrechiette, but no luck. i'll have to try again because this looks amazing!

  11. Hi Kim - this looks fantastic - I made a similar Marcella Hazan recipe a while back with orecchiette, sausage and red peppers, but I love the idea of the cannelini beans in this even more. I have definitely bookmarked this one. Like you I would be using a nice, spicy Italian sausage though instead of turkey sausage, and De Cecco orecchiette is probably my favourite pasta too.

    Thanks so much for leaving the comment on my blog and all the info about Giada's books and cookie recipes - sorry you had such a lot of trouble, but I did get them all, including the first one that you thought was too long :-) Thanks again.


  12. Sounds fabulous and I love your changes!

  13. Gorgeous pasta! I can see why you loved it. YUM!

  14. Kim, your adaptations are spot on! Red pepper flakes, and deglazing with white wine...oh yeah!
    I just printed this recipe. Turkey sausage is something I keep in the freezer. This looks perfect, and the fact that your husband ate the leftovers--and you weren't happy-- well, that sounds like my house! Great recipe!

  15. All of my favorites too! I'll bring the chocolate. ;-) I think I need to find some orecchiette soon--I love everything about this one.

  16. That does sound delicious! And you made it twice too. Must have been delicious. ;)

  17. I think cannellini beans have to be one of my top 5 favorite beans.This sounds out a this world delicious. Only problem? I can see my 40 something y.o. husband picking out the beans :)
    Even funnier is knowing that once a year he makes his big ol' pot of chili.Go figure. Love this one so I'll just have to make it for me.

  18. This sounds really delicious. I love orechiette and usually make it with broccoli rabe, sausage, and beans in a garlic olive oil "sauce." The mascarpone must put it over the moon. I think I'll have to try it. Just a quarter cup can't do much damage, right?

  19. Okay fine. Why is everybody but me loving her so much? I admit, this sounds great...but I want to try your version, not hers ;) I bet I would love it w/ your suggestion of greens, too. Okay, marking it with the hopes of trying ;)

  20. What a comforting and hearty pasta dish! I've still never tried any of Giada's recipes yet, but I love watching her on TV.
    *kisses* HH

  21. Are you kidding me? That dish sounds right up my alley with it's creamy sauce and the sausage. Yum times 10.

  22. This looks so delicious and filling! The beans must add a nice texture to the pasta.

  23. That looks and sounds so yummy! I need to get back into IHCC, I haven't participated in awhile! Thanks for sharing, Kim :)

  24. Thank you for the recipe! It was very good and I had to post about it with some link love coming back to you! :)

  25. Hi Kim. I do similar adaptations as you. I add some red wine at the end.Chopped garlic and a bit of peppers. Sometimes if I dont have some wine handy or opened I use some beef broth and water to stir up the bits. Its one of my fav dishes! great blog you have..Happy I found you, Cheers and bon appetit! Lisa


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