Weekly Winner:  A Peculiar Little Pasta

I honestly did not know what to expect with this pasta dish.  It was one of the few recipes that, having read it, I just couldn’t imagine what it was going to taste like.  I knew I liked everything listed in it, but could not fathom the final outcome.

Orecchiette with Sausage, Chickpeas and Mint.  Who thinks up these things?  Apparently Food and Wine Magazine does.

So when a free night arrived, I decided to whip this up.  It all seemed a tad beige to me and I happened to have some spare baby arugula in the house so I threw that in for a bit of color.  Then I read the final line of the recipe: “Dollop with yogurt”. What?!?  Why?!?  I was actually going to forgo that step.  Then I did a quick taste test with and without the yogurt.  OK, seriously, these recipe creators know what they are doing!  It was way better with the yogurt!

Granted, it may not be much to look at, but it is one tasty pasta dish.  It is oddly appealing and somewhat addicting.  It’s the type of dish you just keep going back for one more forkful.  Do try it, but definitely don’t leave out the yogurt!

Orecchiette with Sausage, Chickpeas and Mint

Ingredients:

1 lb orecchiette

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3/4 pound loose sweet Italian sausage

1 large red onion, thinly sliced

One 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 cup small mint leaves

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Salt

Pepper

Plain yogurt, for serving

Procedure:

  1. In a pot of salted boiling water, cook the orecchiette until al dente. Drain, reserving 3/4 cup of the cooking water.
  2. Wipe out the pot and heat the olive oil in it. Add the sausage and cook over moderate heat, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until browned and nearly cooked through, 7 minutes. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the chickpeas, orecchiette and reserved cooking water and toss over moderate heat until the pasta is hot and coated in a light sauce, about 2 minutes. Stir in the mint and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Dollop with yogurt.
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