What a combination of YUM!
I just say “little ears” because oh-reck-ee-ET-tay is a little hard say. So let’s cook some “little ears” pasta also know as Orecchiette.
Orecchiette in Italian translates to “little ears”. It’s a small, ear-shaped pasta that originated in southern Italy and it’s the perfect pasta to pair with rich creamy sauces because the little bowl shaped pastas hold all your yummy sauce.
A few weeks ago I was laying under a machine for an hour and half looking at the ceiling while having a HIAD test (gallbladder). Anyway, I’m thinking about this post and what I was going to write about and all these visions of pasta came to mind. Remember Lady and The Tramp movie where the little dogs are sucking the spaghetti and end up at the same end of the noodle and “kiss”. Don’t ask me why that was the first thing I thought of; but then I’m thinking of canned spaghetti “o’s” my kids use to eat when they were younger. Can’t believe I fed that to them.
I have brought back different shapes and colors of pasta from just about every trip we have taken. I packed Italian pastas in my suitcase, chocolate pasta from Pikes Market in Seattle, little tiny squares of pasta for soup that I found in Canada and there is always a special pasta waiting for me in any little specialty shop I might go into.
What is it about pasta that is comforting? Maybe it’s memories from a trip or favorite restaurant, or something your mother use to make you on a cold winter night. Pastas are easy to prepare, fairly inexpensive, and I think our bodies crave these carbs in the colder months. Although, I can’t say I would turn down a bowl of pasta on a 90° day either.
A pasta dish can be as simple as adding butter or olive oil, a little pesto, some sauteed vegetables or just about any kind of meat or seafood. At any given time I probably have at least 4 shapes of pasta in my pantry. Once I get a bigger pantry my pasta collection with definitely grow.
I found this recipe while looking for something to make with my pistachio nuts and ended up tweaking it somewhat. I had a couple of links of sweet and hot Italian sausage in my freezer so that had to go into this recipe. And, I can’t forget the snap peas; I love them in just about anything.
Hope you give this a try on one of your cold winter nights.
BLAST FROM THE PAST: My Lemon Spaghetti with Shrimp is one of my favorite pasta dishes because I mix in some julienned zucchini “pasta”.
This recipe calls for the white and a little of the lighter green part of the leek. I think leeks are usually pretty gritty and I usually put them in my little salad spinner and give them a whirl to get all the dirt washed away.
I tried to salvage some of my dead from the freeze mint by soaking in the buttermilk. Ya might want to just go on and purchase some from the market. Our tiny local mercantile had no mint the day I realized mine had died outside.
I used my meat tenderizer to crush the pistachios.
Saute the leeks and garlic.
Add in your cooked crumbled sausages. The sweet and hot combined definitely make a difference in the taste
Add in the parmesan cheese.
Cook the pasta and the last 2 minutes of cooking time add in the cut sugar snap peas. You don’t want the peas to overcook and turn dark.
Mix the pasta in with the sausage mixture and add the pistachios; toss well. Can sprinkle with additional cheese after plating.
I served my pasta dish with my Baby Blue Salad. (see index)
Orecchiette, Snap Peas and Italian Sausage
- 1/3 c. roasted pistachio nuts
- 12 oz. pkg. orecchiette pasta little ears
- kosher salt and pepper to taste
- small pkg. sugar snap peas cut in half diagonally
- 3 Tbsp. butter
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 medium leeks white and pale green part only*
- 3 cloves garlic thinly sliced
- 1/4-1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 bunch mint* I ended up using basil because my mint was dead
- 3/4 c. buttermilk
- 3 oz. parmesan finely grated, plus extra for serving
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 link each hot and sweet Italian sausage optional
- If your pistachios are not already roasted, heat an oven to 350° and roast them for 5-8 minutes. Coarsely crush using a glass or bottom of a pan.
- If you are using the Italian sausage, cut the casing off of the two links and saute in small skillet until done. Drain off fat.
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water for about 6 minutes. Add the sugar snap peas for the last two minutes of cooking time.
- While the pasta is cooking -- put the 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium heavy pot and cook over medium heat the leeks, garlic, red pepper flakes. Add in the basil when these have sautéed for a few minutes. Add in the salt and pepper. Stir in the buttermilk and bring to a simmer.
- Using a slotted spoon drain the pasta and peas and put into the leek mixture. Add 3 ounces of parmesan cheese, cook, stirring to combine. Add in a little pasta water if needed until sauce is creamy and coats the pasta. This takes about 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice. Put pasta in serving bowls and top with pistachios and parmesan; drizzle with some olive oil.
*Note: leeks are usually very dirty. I slice thin and then put in my salad spinner under water to get all the dirt/sand out of them. I did not have any mint growing outside and couldn't find it at the market so I substituted basil which I think has a sweetish flavor.