As you may know by now, every Thursday my husband and I have “pasta and wine night.” It is a treat because I am only allowed to make pasta once a week (per my healthier husband) and we get a glass of wine to celebrate the start of the weekend the next day.
In the summer it is tough to find pasta that feels right for the hot, sticky nights. No 5-hour tomato sauce, no baked ziti, no homemade macaroni. So, I am on a constant search for summer pasta.
I found this one in Food & Wine (by Michael White) and thought it looked light, yet flavorful. I was also curious about the chicory/escarole because I will admit, I had actually never cooked with it before. I also thought the mint was an interesting twist…I always trust Food & Wine, so I thought we should give it a try.
The sauce is light – the chicken broth melds with the sausage drippings and olive oil into a flavorful coating. The escarole adds a nice flavor (and healthy component). And the mint, just seems to work – can’t describe why!
So, I recommend making this one on a hot summer night when you want some light pasta without sacrificing the flavor. I know we will eating this one a few more Thursdays this year!
ORECCHIETTE WITH SAUSAGE AND CHICORY
1 pound orecchiette
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 pound chicory or escarole, coarsely chopped and washed
1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1/4 cup grated pecorino, plus more for serving
2 tablespoons shredded mint
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain well.
Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until shimmering. Add the sausage and cook over moderately high heat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a plate.
Add the garlic, crushed red pepper and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chicory with any water clinging to the leaves and season with salt. Cover and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Uncover and cook until the chicory is tender and the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes longer.
Add the pasta to the skillet along with the sausage, chicken stock and pecorino and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until the liquid is slightly reduced and creamy, about 3 minutes. Stir in the mint and serve right away, passing extra cheese at the table.