what i made for dinner :: Orecchiette with Sausage, Beans, and Mascarpone

what i made for dinner :: shells + sausage

i know i said this last time too, but it's been awhile since i've tried a new recipe. our local library has a copy of _giada's kitchen: new italian favorites_ by giada de laurentiis so i thought it was high time to add a new pasta dish to my repertoire. and, although i love baked pastas (such as giada's stuffed manicotti), i don't much feel like turning the oven on in july (even if i wanted to i couldn't since it's broken). i hunted around for a recipe with a short ingredient list and just a few steps.

the recipe for "orecchiette with sausage, beans, and mascarpone" kept catching my eye. i made a few substitutions (medium shell pasta instead of orecchiette, mild italian sausage instead of turkey sausage) and finally used the sea salt i bought in paris (from brittany). i thought it was quite tasty, and the kiddos did too (including a friend's almost-4-year-old).

Orecchiette with Sausage, Beans, and Mascarpone
(4~6 servings)

ingredients ::
  • 1 pound orecchiette or other small shaped pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 pound turkey sausage, casings removed
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
directions ::
  1. bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.
  2. in a large, heavy skillet, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. add the sausage and onion and cook, using a wooden spoon to break up the sausage into bite-size pieces as it browns. continue cooking until the sausage is golden and the onion is tender.
  3. add the beans and oregano and cook for 2 more minutes. add the reserved pasta cooking water and stir, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. add the mascarpone cheese and stir until it dissolves into a light sauce.
  4. add the salt, pepper, and hot pasta. stir until coated, and serve.

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