CLASSIC pasta orecchiette with sausage








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Here is an orecchiette (little ears) pasta dish from Campania with a touch more spice. to it.

You can buy or make your own orecchiette. For home-made: see how to make your own egg pasta. Rather than all all-purpose flour, use half white flour and half wheat flour or semolina. When you have come to the step of having a ball of well-kneaded dough, divide the dough into four pieces. Roll each of the pieces into a sausage shape, about a half-inch in diameter. Just slice this sausage into one-quarter to one-half inch slices. You now have a lot of little round buttons, or coins. Press your thumb gently into the center of each of these little coins. Wiggle your thumb a little to get a really good impression into the coin.

>>for a classic orecchiette recipe, with cauliflower:  see orecchiette with cauliflower.

for the sauce:

  • two garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • three tablespoons olive oil
  • eight ounces of sweet Italian sausage, skin removed and chopped
  • two cups imported canned peeled Italian tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped.
  • one cup red wine
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper
  • one-half cup grated Parmesan

for the pasta:

  • one pound Italian-made orecchiette, preferably made with semolina

Put the olive oil into a saute pan, add the garlic, over low medium heat until it just starts to sizzle. Add the sausage and continue to cook on a low medium heat to brown it. While browning, keep smashing the sausage with a wooden spoon to break it up into small pieces. This should take about five minutes.

Add the tomatoes, the red pepper flakes, and a few grindings of the pepper mill plus a teaspoon of salt. Stir. Add the wine. Partially cover and simmer for about fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally. This should now be a well-melded sauce.

Get five quarts of water up to a raging boil. Add two tablespoons of salt. Add the orecchiette. Cook until al dente. Reserve a cup of the pasta liquid and then drain.

Add the pasta to the heated sauce. Mix well. If it needs a touch more liquid to coat, use some of the reserved pasta water. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper. Serve in heated bowls with the parmesan.


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