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New Orleans, LA, 70119
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swirl and savor

Pasta with Italian Sausage and Veggies

Beth Ribblett

With the shop being in full spring mode right now, spending lots of time in the kitchen preparing complicated dishes is on hold 'til July!  One of my quick, go-to pasta recipes that I've been making different variations of every time, is based on one of Lidia Bastianich's dishes.  A healthy, hearty one dish meal, we love it with a nice glass of red wine, but a full bodied white would work just as well.  Here's my version from this Sunday's dinner using chicken sausage for the meat plus arugula and zucchini for the veggies.  But I've made this with pork sausage and shrimp, with different veggies like kale or asparagus, basically whatever is left in the refrigerator on Sunday night!

Serves 2-3

For the Sauce:
1 large zucchini, grated
2 big handfuls of fresh arugula
2 links of Brau House Spicy Italian Chicken Sausage (Whole Foods)
4 tablespoons good olive oil
3 large cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (optional)
1 cup or more chicken stock
Diced fresh tomatoes and a handful of chopped fresh basil for garnish

For the Pasta:
3 quarts water
1 teaspoons salt
1/2 pound orecchiette or we've been using pasta shape called "lumaconi" from WF that we love 'cause it really soaks up the sauce.

For Serving:
1 ounce or more Piave cheese, grated

Preparing the Sauce:
  • Slice the sausage and saute over moderately high heat in a tablespoon of olive oil. In a moment or two, add the crushed garlic and continue sauteing for another 2 to 3 minutes, until the sausage is lightly browned. 
  • Add another tablespoon of olive oil and toss in the arugula and zucchini. Taste, and season lightly with salt and pepper flakes. (At this point, you could start the pasta.) Cover the pan and let steam for several minutes. 
  • When the spinach has wilted, stir in the butter, then the stock and bring to a boil. Taste again for seasoning, and let cook uncovered for several minutes more to reduce and concentrate the liquid. 
  • At this point grate the cheese. Again taste and correct seasoning keep on a low simmer until the pasta is ready.
  • As soon as the pasta has cooked and drained, turn it into the hot sauce and toss gently to blend. Taste carefully for seasoning, and remove from heat. 
  • Sprinkle on half of the freshly grated cheese and the chopped basil, and toss to blend. At once, turn the pasta onto the hot platter or plates, sprinkle with the rest of the cheese and diced tomatoes, and serve.