Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about pesto and the seasonal shift that forces our tastes to change as the days grow longer. I crave pasta year round, not willing to do without it, so that means adjusting heavy sauces and creams or replacing with fresh and lighter ingredients. 

Today I was in the mood for one of my regular go-to's, but felt like changing it up a bit. It could've been anything: Asparagus or the addition of a half-cup of pine nuts, maybe. Herbs. Lamb sausage and a swath of mint or some lemon zest. The possibilities are endless. I went with my stand-by (spicy sausage and rapini) but added peas for sweetness. And instead of the usual orrechiette, I snagged some fiorelli, with their fluted, crimped edges. 

Fiorelli with Spicy Sausage, Rapini and Sweet Green Peas

A couple of spicy Italian sausages stripped of their casings and pan-fried in olive oil until crispy and crumbled. Toss in a couple finely diced shallots and a few cloves of minced garlic. Put a pot of salted water on to boil while you chop a bunch of rapini loosely, without fussiness; add to your sauté pan, just until it wilts but not so long that it looses its crispness. A few moments before you stir-in your al dente pasta, drop a cup or so of fresh or frozen peas; the heat of the pan will cook them just enough. Toss with the pasta, adding more oil as needed. Salt and pepper to taste and a quick squeeze of lemon never hurts anybody. Chili peppers, maybe, a palm full of minced Scotch bonnets or a swirl of chili oil might be nice, too. Whatever you want. The whole process should take 15 minutes. 

Smack it with fresh parmesan and pair with a glass of bright white wine. The sweetness of the peas against the spice of the sausage and the bitterness of the greens --- springtime perfection.

From Scratch (January 31, 2012)
Presto, It's Pesto (April 17, 2012)


  1. I like to throw the rapini in the boiling water before the pasta for just a minute or two, then pull it out and add it in at the end. It lets the pasta pick up some of that great bitter flavour.

  2. Remember that time you stayed here for a week and cooked a lot for me? Next time that happens, I want this.