Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Deep in the heart of Brooklyn...

I have two big projects for work this week, so sadly the apartment renovation is going to have to take the back-burner once again. I assure you-- it disappoints me as much as it does you... BUT, I thought I would share a great recipe to tide you over until we start our next D-I-Y Adventure!

I spent a good chunk of yesterday morning deep in Brooklyn, researching rubber stairs and vinyl flooring (don't ask!) and found myself parked outside of a tantalizing Italian deli. Of course, I had to go in! This place was perfect-- it was like I was in a re-enactment of what New York used to be like.. all "Hey-Tommy! How's ya mutha?" "Hey Joe-y! Say hello to ya sista." So I fit right in.

Needless to say, I came home with one pound of some delicious-looking homemade Sweet Italian Sausage and a ball of mozzarella that could eclipse the sun. Seriously, it was so enormous it felt like I should put it in a car-seat to get it home.

Inspired by my purchases, I politely asked John if he would make the recipe shown below for our dinner. It is an awesome week-night dish, easy, satisfying, and reasonably healthy. (The English consider sausages of all kinds to be a health food.) Of course, we then added big chunks of mozzarella which may have diminished the nutritional quality somewhat further.

Fresh Pasta With Fava Beans, Tomato, and Sweet Italian Sausage.
Serves 8.
We originally found this recipe here...
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 pound Italian sausages, casings removed
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 3/4 cups chopped plum tomatoes
  • 1 cup shelled fresh fava beans (from about 1 pound), blanched 3 minutes then peeled, or double-peeled frozen, thawed
  • 3/4 pound fresh pasta sheets, cut as desired, or dried egg fettuccine
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese plus additional for passing

To Prepare: 
Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add next 3 ingredients. Sauté until onion is translucent, about 6 minutes. Add sausages; break up with fork. Sauté until brown, about 3 minutes. Add wine; simmer 1 minute, scraping up browned bits. Add tomatoes and fava beans. Sauté until tomatoes soften, about 5 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to same pot.
Add sauce to pasta. Toss over medium heat until sauce coats pasta, adding reserved cooking liquid as needed if dry, about 2 minutes. Mix in 2 tablespoons cheese. Transfer pasta to bowl. Serve, passing additional cheese.

More info: 
John and I love to "wing-it" when we're cooking, and at some point, we stopped adding fava beans to this recipe and started adding steamed broccoli rabe. Totally a matter of preference and convenience-- I just couldn't always find fava beans and probably had a wilting head of broccoli rabe at the time. I bet asparagus would be good too. If you're not feeling the italian sausage, you could probably swap it out for ground beef, chicken sausage, or lamb merguez, but that's unchartered territory for us. 

As far as fresh pasta goes, that's up to the chef as well. We usually just buy fresh pappardelle or use dried fettuccine, because it seems like once you start making fresh pasta, this isn't such an "awesome, easy week-night dish" anymore. That said, we actually did make fresh pasta last night, because we recently found this terrific recipe from the New York Times' Mark Bittman for fresh pasta. It's such a cinch with your food processor!  Follow the link below, just ignore the bit about the pesto.

Happy Cooking! We'll be back on Thursday! 

1 comment:

  1. Yum!! Cool its recipe and nice your idea for recipe. amazing your recently post and interesting . really i loved Italian Food and i just try make this recipe. thanks for nice posting