Orecchiette with Sausage

For some reason this cute little orecchiette pasta shape was just calling my name. I had a surplus of turkey sausage from an overzealous grocery trip, and voilà this recipe was born. This dish is simple and comforting. It comes together very quickly and is ideal for an easy weeknight dinner. And although I sort of made up this recipe, it feels very authentic. Orecchiette is a kind of rustic pasta, from the Apulia region in Italy (in the boot of the country). This area is well known for making homemade pasta but it is very different from the pasta you are most likely accustomed to that is made in Emilia-Romagna. It is a firmer pasta and it is actually very simple to make. I recommend Marcella Hazan’s book if you’re interested in making your own pasta.

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I like to use Fresh Market white wine and garlic turkey sausage in this recipe, it has excellent flavor and is a bit healthier than traditional pork sausage. If you make the recipe as directed below, you will get about 4 servings of 520 calories each. This is pretty good, I think, for a pasta dish with sausage. You could actually substitute the lima beans for other greens that you may have in the fridge. I have used kale and spinach in this recipe. You should cook the kale and spinach down with the onions and garlic though. It will only take a few minutes.

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Serve this with white wine, a steel chardonnay or pinot grigio. One of my new favorite everyday chards right now is Bouchaine. They have a lovely wine made in Carneros that is sold at Costco for the extremely reasonable price of $16. It is actually the oldest operating winery in Carneros. It has changed hands a few times over the years and now produces fabulous chardonnay and pinot noir with sustainable farming practices. You will definitely appreciate the Burgundian style but the California notes and Carneros terroir are recognizable in this wine.

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Orecchiette with Sausage

8 oz orecchiette (or other small pasta shape)
1 lb chicken or turkey sausage such as white wine and garlic or spicy italian, casings removed
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (plus a little more for serving)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 can lima beans

Cook orecchiette as directed on the package in a large pot of boiling water until it is al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the sausage, breaking it up with a firm spatula until only small clumps remain. Remove the cooked sausage to a plate.

Add 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil to the skillet. Sauté the onion for 5 minutes until translucent. Stir in the minced garlic and red pepper flakes, cook for 1 minute longer. Remove from heat, return the sausage to the pan. Add in the lima beans.

Toss the cooked orecchiette with the sausage and onion mixture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, taste and adjust seasonings. Mix in the grated parmesan cheese.

Serve with grated parmesan on top.

This is a Bubbly Kitchen original recipe.

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