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11.24.2011

A touch of Le Marche... Pasta with sausage, peas and cream

The cuisine of the Marche region is very rich in meats: sausages, braised roasts, prosciutto, lonzino, dried sausages and more!
When I had my restaurant in Cagli, one of the favorites on the menu was Tortellini alla Montanara - Tortellini with sausage, mushrooms, peas and panna. Another was "Penne alla Norcina" - pencil points with sausage, brandy and cream - an Umbrian speciality.
Today I sort of brought them together and the result was delicious!

For two healthy servings:
2 italian sausages
1 - 1.5 cups frozen peas
a splash of white wine
extra virgin olive oil
heavy cream
6 ounces of short pasta - I used orecchiette because that's what I had on hand.


Remove the sausage from its casing and break it up in a non stick fry pan. Crumble it with a fork as it fries, let it get nice and browned but not crisp. Drain off the fat. Add a splash of white wine and allow to evaporate. Add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and the frozen peas, cover and let simmer while the pasta cooks.

Cook the pasta in salted boiling water. Drain when "al dente". Add the pasta to the meat mix in the fry pan. Add about 1/2 cup of heavy cream and stir over medium heat until all of the pasta is covered with the sauce. Taste and add salt if necessary. I didn't add any, the sausage was seasoned enough!
Serve with freshly grated parmigiano cheese and freshly ground pepper.


Buon appetito!

11.17.2011

Italian Soul Food!

Last night my heat turned on in the middle of the night for the first time this year, so it must have gotten quite chilly because I have my thermostat set on 18°C; that would be just over 64°F.
Today was a beautiful, crisp, sunny day. It was great to put on a sweater and actually need it! Yes... I love cool weather!
I had a busy morning and before I knew it.... time to fix lunch! Something quick, nutritious and delicious! I opted for Pasta e Fagioli but this time with the addition of Italian sausage. The result was delizioso and it only took about 20 minutes to prepare!


So here goes!
For two healthy servings:

200g (7oz) of a small pasta (I used pennette lisce)
1 small can of borlotti beans
1 or 2 links of Italian sausage
1 clove of garlic
Extra virgin olive oil
a handful of fresh parsely, washed and chopped
hot pepper, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste


Take the sausage out of the skin, put in a large pot to sauté. As it cooks, break it up with a fork. Add the whole clove of garlic. Cook the sausage through and let it brown slightly. At this point, if you want, you can drain off the fat.
Add the drained and rinsed beans to the sausage and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil. Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Add the pasta. When it comes back to a boil, lower the heat to medium. Stir often, because it WILL stick! Add more water a little at a time, we are not looking for a soupy consistency but a thick and creamy one. This is why we use only just enough water and continue to stir. When it is almost cooked add the parsely and the hot pepper. Taste and salt and pepper to taste.
When the pasta is "al dente" turn off the heat and serve! Italian Soul Food! Buon appetito!