Friday, March 11, 2011

Sausage, Leek and Pea Pasta

Sausage, Leek and Pea Pasta
adapted from Lidia Bastianich


1 lb. hot Italian sausage, casings removed
Splash of dry white wine
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large leeks, trimmed, light green and white parts cut into 1/2-inch pieces, washed well, and drained
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup frozen young peas, defrosted and drained
1 cup homemade chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. campanelle or other shaped, dried pasta
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Put the sausage into a bowl. Add a splash of white wine and mix into the sausage until the meat is moistened.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook the sausage, breaking up the lumps, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the leeks and cook, stirring, until moderately soft, about 6 minutes. Stir in the shallot and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add 1 Tbs. of the butter, the peas, chicken stock and oregano.

Heat to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover the skillet and set aside; keep warm.

Meanwhile, cook the campanelle, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot over low heat. Add the sausage and leek sauce to the pasta and toss well. Remove the pot from the heat, add the remaining 1 Tbs. butter and the grated cheese; toss well. Transfer to a warmed serving platter or individual bowls. Serve immediately, with more grated cheese and crushed red pepper on the side, if you like.


I have never posted this before, not even when my blog was much older, which is surprising since some of you have heard me talk about it for a couple of years, calling it "my favorite pasta of all time." A pretty bold statement... that I am now retracting. I have had far too many new pastas in the last year - including fresh pasta made by my own hands - to put just one of them on the top of the heap.

However, this one, this amazingly easy, sausagey, leeky, pea... ey one, still easily sits in my top three.

After a couple of modifications from the original, I got this exactly as I wanted it. And though I've tried messing with the ratios from time to time since then, as with my creamed spinach, I learned the hard way that, sometimes, you just shouldn't. It's perfect. And so f*#king good, I nearly have to restrain myself from eating the entire pan at once.