Friday, November 11, 2011

Sausage and Escarole Orechietti

This dish was inspired by a meal we had in Italy.  It took us two hours to find the restaurant (we became so incredibly lost) but it was worth it!  Check out the inspiration:

I like adding greens to stuff.  Spinach, peas, whatever.  It gives me the false impression that I'm healthy.  Also, and most importantly, greens make dishes look more appetizing and pretty.  In this case it's escarole.  If you've never had escarole before, it's like spinach but better.  It's hearty, can stand up to a lot of heat and has a really good tooth to it.  If you don't have one of your own, call your local Italian mom and ask her all about it.  I can lend you mine if you need her.

Here are our ingredients for today: 

2 Cups escarole and beans*
1/2 Pound of mild or hot Italian sausage
1/2 Tbs of red pepper flakes
2-3 Cloves of garlic Fresh parmesan
3/4 Cup of chicken stock
1/2 Cup of white wine
8 oz of fresh orecchietti pasta

Note:  I usually cook up some extra sausage because my hubby likes to snack on it while I'm cooking.  I believe corporations call this type of theft "inventory shrinkage" and it must be accounted for.  

*Escarole and beans is really easy.  Rinse your escarole WELL.  You might even want to soak it for a couple of minutes to get rid of all the dirt that gets caught up in the leaves.  Sautee 2 Tbs of olive oil, 1 garlic glove until garlic gets soft over medium heat.  Add chopped escarole and sautee until softened. Add 1-2 cans of canolini beans (liquid and all) to the pan.  Season to taste.  Add some red pepper flakes at the end.

This is a blury picture, but you get the idea.  I was shaking with excitement, ok?  Can you blame me?


Finely chop the garlic.

Sautee the garlic in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Make sure your garlic doesn't burn.  The darkest you want it is golden brown.  Burnt garlic is disgusting.  It tastes bitter and will ruin your dish.

Add the sausage and move it around in the garlic and olive oil.  This is starting to smell goooooood.

Keep movin' it around so the garlic doesn't get to hot or stay too long in the same place.  Deglaze the sausage pan with some white wine of your choice.  You want to pick up all of those yummy little brown bits on the bottom.  Yummy little brown bits is a technical term chefs like myself use.

Kim Crawford is my best friend and she's always hanging around so that's what I added.  The choice is up to you. 

I only shot the bottom half of the bottle so you couldn't see the amount I had poured myself while cooking this delicious meal.

In another pan, add your escarole and beans, another splash of wine and some chicken stock. 


Now, this is where things get crazy.  I added a chunk of Parmesan RIND.  It looks like wax, but it isn't.  It's actually just cheese, but a lot firmer.  I throw it in sauces because it melts down really slowly - adding a creaminess and salty cheesiness to soups or sauces.  If you just threw in the cheese and not the rind it would melt too fast and clump up. I am a genius I tell you!  (Note: I originally spelled genius, genious.  Thank you, spell check.)

Now add the sausage to the escarole and beans.  Sausage and escarole and beans were meant to be together. Don't stand in the way of their happiness.

YUM!  Now is a good time to taste it.  Does it need more hot pepper flakes?  A little salt?  A little more wine?  Mine tasted just right so I left it alone to reduce and cook off that raw wine flavor.

As the sauce is reducing, cook your fresh pasta.  Fresh pasta is awesome.  It tastes WAY better and takes 2.5 minutes to cook.  This is my version of fast food. In yo face McDonalds.

Stir it all together in one big pan.  I would take a bath in this if I could squeeze in.

Add it to the bowl of your choice and top with some freshly grated parm.  This was outSTANDING!  I think it was even better than the original.  I also think I'm my biggest fan.  Oops.

Just one more shot.  Ahhh, I love you sausage pasta.  Keep reading and stay hungry!

1 comment:

  1. That's what I'm talking about. Can't get enough.
    move over Betty @ Martha HARDLY HOUSEWIVES are in the house.
    Love ya


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