Orecchiette with Hot Italian Sausage & Wilted Greens

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Yipee! I’m back. It has been way too long. I believe the slowness issues on my blog have been resolved. Thank you to all who let me know my blogspot blog was painfully slow to load, and thank you to all who offered thoughtful advice about how I should be saving/resizing photos. So far, the new site seems to be running smoothly. All of the posts have been imported from Blogger and all of the recipes can now be printed (in their own window without images and without all of the sidebar distractions.) Many of the links in various posts still link back to Blogger, but in time, I hope, those will be updated.

Anyway, I am excited to share with you this recipe for orecchiette with sausage and greens. The inspiration for this dish came from this Nigella Lawson recipe, which I spotted in an email blast from The Cookstr 10 regarding vegetarian dishes for everyone. I had a little trouble with the recipe the first time around — the one cup of wine and one cup of water turned my greens to mush — so I’ve altered the recipe a tad.

Now, as many of you know, when I make pasta, I usually begin with a pound of Delaney’s Culinary Fresh delectable homemade linguini. A trip last weekend to visit my adorable nephew, however, kept me from my Sunday farmers’ market, forcing me to improvise. Here, I’ve used orecchiette, which I adore, but I think elbow macaroni (or any pasta really) would make a nice substitute. I’m liking the little shapes these days for whatever reason.

Again, too, because I couldn’t stock up on chard last weekend, I found a one pound bag of “Southern” cooking greens, a mixture of turnip, collard, spinach and mustard, at Trader Joe’s. Sausage is not a must here, truly, but if you’re craving a little meat, the addition of hot Italian sausage adds a nice flavor. For those of you who live in the area, Tina and Vince’s homemade sausages are the best. The whole combination of pasta with greens and sausage and grated Parmigiano is so classic and so wonderful. Nothing original here, just a nice, simple, tasty dish. Yum.

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cheese, garlic & redpepper flakes

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Orecchiette with Sausage and Greens
Serves 4

olive oil
1 lb. fresh, hot Italian sausage
1 lb. greens such as a mix of turnip, mustard, spinach, chard and collard (Trader Joe’s sells a 1 lb. bag of Southern cooking greens)
3 cloves garlic minced
kosher salt
crushed red pepper flakes
1 lb. orecchiette pasta
1 T. unsalted butter, room temperature is ideal
1/2 cup. grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, plus more to pass
fresh cracked pepper

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

2. Meanwhile, squeeze sausage from its casing. Heat a small amount of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat and cook the sausage until browned and cooked through. Transfer cooked sausage to a large bowl.

3. In the same pan, add a tablespoon of olive oil and turn heat to high. Once the oil is hot, add half of the greens. Let the greens sit for a minute undisturbed. Season with a pinch of kosher salt and crushed red pepper flakes to taste. Add half of the garlic. Begin to toss the greens around until they start wilting. Once wilted, transfer to the large bowl with the sausage. Repeat with the remaining greens. Transfer greens to large bowl. Don’t wash the pan yet.

4. Add a pinch of salt to the pasta water. Boil the pasta for about 9 minutes. (The box says 11, but check it at 9.) Reserve a cup of the cooking liquid. Drain the pasta.

5. In the same sauté pan that you cooked the sausage and greens, add about half of the reserved cooking liquid and bring to a simmer. Add the tablespoon of butter and stir, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Let simmer until reduced slightly, about a minute. Place the pasta in the large bowl with the sausage and greens. Pour this cooking liquid-butter mixture over top. Add the cheese and stir with a large spoon. Taste. Add more of the reserved cooking liquid if necessary. Place pasta in a big serving bowl.

6. Dish out the pasta, cracking black pepper over each serving and passing more Parmigiano Reggiano on the side.

37 Comments

  1. Classic and wonderful – definitely! I need to make this again. I like using the traditional orecchiette. And I also buy homemade sausage. I mean, really, once you do, you can’t even think of eating the packaged stuff any more. Tasteless by comparison.

    Congratulations on the new site!

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  2. Everything is so fresh and beautiful! I understand about the photos — resizing is sometimes the bane of my existence. Thanks for the inspiration with this pasta dish. I have a bundle of cavolo nero that would be perfect for something like this…

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  3. Congrats on the new site! Everything looks wonderful and the pics look better than ever. You always have the best food ideas!

    Tip regarding slow loading (this one actually loaded a bit slowly for me as it was waiting for all of the pics to load)- you might choose to show… say only 2 posts rather than a bunch. It’ll load a lot more quickly for your readers.

    Glad to see you back in action!

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  4. wow – when you have a facelift, you don’t mess around – blog looks great – kind of starship enterprise(ish). You hit me on a day that I’m just so in the mood for pasta w/sausage.
    Re: cookbook, the original date was in February and the deadline has been extended to March 31st.

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  5. Nice new setup! I’m dreading the day that I face substantial blog problems because I am pathetic with that stuff.

    The dish looks great. I have pretty much everything except for the greens.

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  6. Hey, I’m glad to see you’re back in business! Your new site looks great. Glad you got it figured out.

    Your salad looks fantastic as do your pictures (your pics are always first rate).

    :)

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  7. Wow! I love the new look/site. It looks spectacular.

    Your dinner looks spectacular too! I would love to try this. I haven’t seen orecchiette around here though. :( Not happy about that.

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  8. Alexandra, thanks for the heads up on your new site. I’ve changed my blogroll to reflect it. Love deCecco pasta, and your recipe looks wonderful.

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  9. The new site looks great. Love the simplicity.

    This is one of my favorite pasta combos–love the greens, love the sausage and adore the orechiette.

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  10. Hey Ali! I commented above, but yeah, I found you and am just having a hard time changing my feed. I tried three times the other day and twice today before it worked. Stoopid Blogger.

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  11. Yay! It’s my first time in your new place and I am loving it! Also, I’m loving the combination of protein (well, you can’t beat sausage ;), pasta, and greens (I’m trying to get the five a day thing). Looks deelicious! :)

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  12. This recipe looked so good that I spent an an entire night on it – I couldn’t get the greens in a bag, so I had to buy each of them by the bunch and ended up with more than 6 lbs. Obviously didn’t want to throw anything away, so with only two frying pans, the wilting took me three hours going batch by batch last night. Finally had the actual dish today. Worth. Every. Minute. I can’t tell you how much your blog improves my quality of life on a regular basis – thank you!
    Kathrin (Liza’s student from the pumpkin ice cream recipe)

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  13. I made it! I still can’t believe I made something so amazingly delicious! I don’t consider myself a bad cook, but my idea of cooking is generally to throw everthing in a pot and waa-laaa… soup or chili or some casserole! Hard to mess up those meals. I was diagnosed with Celiac’s Disease about two months ago and eating out is not something I am willing to chance just yet. This recipe was so delicious, it tasted like a restaurant meal (of course I used rice pasta)!! I even took a picture of it because it was so good and I really could not believe I made something so GOOD!! Have I stressed enough just how good it was? haahaa :) My many thanks. Your blog and photos are inspiring.

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  14. This was delicious!!! I used ground beef instead of the italian sausage because I’m Muslim and we don’t eat pork and all of our other meat comes from a special butcher. Other than that substitution, everything was the same and it was aboslutely delicious.

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