Monday, June 6, 2011

Italian Sausage, Radicchio and Pear Pasta

Lately I feel like the Johnny Cash song, I've Been Everywhere. In the past few weeks I've been to Dallas, Rome, Budapest, Boston, New York, Minneapolis, Boise, Idaho and back again. I'm off to Rome today. I'm not complaining, mind you, but my affairs aren't in order. The weeds are growing, the dust is collecting and my computer time has been zero. If only I had an iPad for my a few days off! Oh yeah, don't forget a house cleaner on that list of wants. I settled yesterday for an easy and tasty pasta dish to keep me going. I have been wanting to make the Pater Nostri pasta I bought in Rome using a recipe that was inspired by a dish I had at Trattoria Moderne last month. It had Italian sausage, pear and radicchio. The flavors rounded out each other with a little sweet from the pear, some savory sausage, salty cheese and a slightly bitter taste from the radicchio. The essences of life. I added some dried porcini mushrooms, onion, and a fresh grating of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and that was about it. Pater Nostri pasta is shaped like rings of calamari. I saw some in Whole Foods the other day and they even called it calamari pasta. I like it in this dish because the sausage handily finds its way into the rings. Any pasta will work, but a tubular one catches any sauce and bits and pieces the best. I used garlic herb sausage from Whole Foods that was wonderful (it was even on sale!) As a garnish, I sprinkled chive flowerets from my blooming chives on top. They have a delicate look and chive flavor. All in all, this dish was quick, tasty and brought me back to Rome as all of the dust settled around me. Pasta with Italian Sausage, Radicchio and Pears

6 ounces Italian sausage, removed from casing*
1/2 cup diced onion
8 porcini mushrooms, reconstituted in 1/2 cup boiling water
2 radicchio leaves, sliced thinly
1/2 ripe Bosc pear, cut into 1/2 x 1/4 inch slices
2 servings cooked pasta
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Optional: Chive or other herb flowerets for garnish
*If the sausage doesn't have herbs in it, add the leaves from some sprigs of fresh thyme and a few finely snipped fresh sage leaves.

In a heavy skillet over medium heat, sauté the sausage and onion, breaking up the sausage as it cooks. Once the sausage is done and the onions are translucent, remove any excess oil. If you are using a high quality and lower fat sausage, you probably won't have any extra oil. Add the pears and radicchio, and stir until the pears are just slightly cooked and the radicchio is wilted. Transfer the sausage mixture into a bowl. Put the strained mushroom liquid into the skillet to deglaze over medium heat. Scrape up any bits that stick to the bottom and reduce the liquid by half. Return the sausage mixture back into the skillet and toss in cooked pasta to fully coat. If it seems dry at all, you can add a little of the cooked pasta water or a small amount of olive oil. Mine didn't need anything. Add a few gratings of Parmesan cheese and put into serving dishes. Top with the chive flower garnish if used, and offer freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Serves 2 as a main course or 4 for a pasta course.

My Beautiful cutting board is from Ann at Thibeault's Table. Take a peek here...they are works of art.

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