Orecchiette with Hot Italian Sausage

November 5, 2007 | Chuck
Orecchiette with Hot Italian Sausage

One of my favorite ingredients is hot Italian sausage. Hungry Bear loves sweet petite peas. Add some mushrooms, garlic, orecchiette, a sprinkle of Parmigiano Reggiano and you'll have a tasty pasta dish that can be prepared in 30 minutes.

Hungry Bear likes pasta dishes without tomato sauce because the individual flavors of the ingredients are not dominated by a tomato taste. Recently, we've made most of our pasta without tomato sauce. Our current favorite pasta is an orecchiette with hot Italian sausage.

This pasta dish is simple to make. We really like the spiciness from the hot Italian sausage complimented by the sweetness of the peas. The orecchiette gets coated by the juices from the sausage and mushrooms, so the pasta dish isn't completely dry. I try to make the dish a little healthier by draining off some of the fat/juices from the sausage. But if you remove too much juice, you'll lose a lot of flavor and there won't be enough juice to coat the orecchiette. It's a fine balance between flavor and fat.

To complete the meal, make a side of sautéed broccolini with garlic. You can also combine the broccolini with the pasta and have one big bowl of happiness and deliciousness!

Orecchiette with Hot Italian Sausage Recipe

1 pound orecchiette pasta 
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound hot Italian-style sausage, casings removed 
4 garlic cloves, minced
12-16 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 cups frozen sweet petite peas
Handful of basil, torn
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil. Heat the olive oil in a very large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon. When the sausage is almost cooked through, about 7 minutes, drain some but not all of the sausage juices/fat. Add the garlic and mushrooms, sauté about 5 minutes. Add frozen peas and heat through, about 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, salt the boiling water, add the orecchiette and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

Add the pasta and basil to the skillet, toss pasta and sausage mixture. If pasta is too dry, Add additional pasta water or olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve pasta immediately topped with grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

Serves 4

[tags]pasta, hot italian sausage, peas, mushrooms, broccolini, easy, basil, italian[/tags]

7 Comments on “Orecchiette with Hot Italian Sausage”

  1. hungry bear said:

    like most pastas, this dish is even better the next day. and i like when the orecchiette sticks a little to the bottom of the skillet. the edges get brown and crisp. delicious!

  2. JEP said:

    I found your blog via Serious Eats after you commented on my peanut butter ques.—-thanks! Plan to spend some time reading your archives.

  3. Rebecca said:

    I’m having a hard time finding Orecchiette pasta at my local grocery store. Have you tried this recipe with other pastas? Which would be a good fit for an alternative one?

  4. Chuck said:

    Rebecca, any shaped pasta will work in this recipe, such as fusilli, rotini and even penne. Fusilli or rotini would be my primary alternatives. Let me know what you choose.

  5. Rebecca said:

    I was thinking about small shells as well since they are shaped similar to Orecchiette pasta. I’m making this dish tonight so I’ll let you know which one I ended up with and how that was.

  6. Rebecca said:

    So…I checked one other grocery store and found Orecchiette pasta afterall :)
    The dish turned out wonderful…added some red pepper flakes since my spicy Italian sausage wasn’t spicy enough. Also, next time, I think I’ll add some more pasta water because my dish turned out a tad bit dry for my taste. The mushrooms produced a lot of liquid so I had skimped on the pasta water addition. Overall, my boyfriend and I gave the recipe a thumbs up and will add to our repertoire for a repeat in the near future :) Thanks for the wonderful recipe again!! Say Hi to Hungry Bear too :)

  7. Caitlin said:

    Delicious! Wish I wasn’t craving comfort food in the middle of July but, thanks to Canadian weather, warm savoury dishes are the theme of my life at the moment. Loved everything about this one; good enough to eat for dinner, then lunch and then dinner again!

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