Friday, June 3, 2011

Sausage with Cauliflower and Orecchiette

This is one of those hybrid recipes out of a book. You see a recipe, are all excited to make it, buy all the ingredients, and then by the end of the week one or two things are missing. Or you read the recipe again, and realize how in depth it is. Well, never fear, this takes approx 30-45 minutes to make. Orecchiette pasta is kinda hard to find in the supermarket, and if you can't get it use farfalle (butterfly) or small shells. What type of sausage doesn't really matter, I personally used basil because it was in the freezer, but an good Italian sausage would do.

Sausage with Cauliflower and Orecchiette
(serves about 4)
  • 2 Links or 1/2 lb of Sausage, Italian, basil, or any variant will do.Remove from casing (if applicable) and crumble the sausage into small bite-sized pieces. 
  • 1 chopped yellow onion
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 can or bottle of traditional tomato based pasta sauce (whatever you've got in the cupboard will do).
  • 1/2 pound of Orecchiette Pasta (Or amount to your liking, this is one of those pastas where less is more, its very filling).
  • 1/4 cup of slivered almonds
  • 2 tbsp of bread crumbs
  • chopped herbs to taste- I added about 2 tbsp of fresh oregano, thyme, basil and parsley.
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Grated Parmesan 

Cut up Cauliflower into small pieces, and place in a medium sized pot, filling with water until the cauliflower is covered. Add a pinch of salt to the water. Boil until the vegetable is the desired softness; about 5-10 minutes. Drain, and set aside, putting the cauliflower water right back into the pot.
In a large saute pan, cook the onion in the olive oil on medium low heat. When the onions are starting to soften, bring the cauliflower water in the other pot to a boil , then add the orecchiette pasta. When the onions are starting to brown, add the sausage to the pan and turn the heat up a little, no more than medium. When the sausage is cooked through, add the cauliflower to the pan and mix well, letting it cook for a couple of minutes for the flavors to mix. Add the pasta sauce.
Meanwhile, check the pasta, making sure to drain it when it is al dente and again, saving the water used. When the sauce is bubbling, add the pasta to the pan. Add the slivered almonds, bread crumbs, chopped herbs, and salt and pepper. Stir in small amounts of pasta/cauliflower water until it is a desired consistency (don't want it too thick).
It is finished cooking when the sauce is bubbling. Serve with grated parmesan on top with a couple of turns of the peppermill.