Garlicky Springtime Orecchiette
Farmer’s market season is in full effect in the Boston area. I am fortunate to work a block and a half away from the Copley Square Farmer’s Market, which happens twice a week, and brings all kinds of tasty veggies (look at this!), baked goods, lunch items, meats, flowers, herbs, and even Italian ices. I’ve been purposefully leaving small holes in my menu for a vegetable to be chosen at this or one of our other local markets, and today I went over during my lunch break to see what was around. From the Siena Farms stand I picked up some beautiful red kale, and some garlic scapes which made it into the pasta tonight.
This had a very garlicky flavor, but it wasn’t one that stayed on your breath. Between the sausage, fennel and tomatoes, there are a lot of large flavors going on here but they balance out well. The overall flavor is bright and fresh, and I’m sure you will enjoy it.
Garlicky Springtime Orecchiette (Serves 4)
- 6 tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 1 medium onion, chopped coarsely
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 10 oz. hot Italian-style turkey sausage, removed from casings (about 3 links)
- 2 tbsp. crushed red pepper, divided
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup chopped fennel (about 1/2 medium bulb)
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped garlic scapes (about 5-6 scapes)
- 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 lb. orecchiette pasta (or other small pasta)
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- grated Parmesan cheese
- Heat 3 tbsp. olive oil in a large straight-sided pan over low-medium heat. Add onion and minced garlic, and cook for about 10 minutes, shaking occasionally to distribute heat and oil evenly. Add 1 tbsp. of crushed red pepper.
- Turn heat up to medium and add sausage. Brown sausage on both sides and break up into small bits with a wooden spoon. Once sausage is cooked through, add wine, and cook until wine is almost entirely reduced to a syrupy consistency, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Boil 3-4 quarts of salted water in a large heavy pot, such as a dutch oven. Cook pasta according to directions on package, occasionally skimming starch from the surface into a small bowl. When pasta is just short of the “al dente” stage, reserve about 1/2 cup of pasta water into the same bowl and then drain the pasta. Rinse the drained pasta in cold water just enough so pasta is still warm, not fully chilled. Drain well and toss with a small amount of olive oil to prevent sticking. Set aside.
- Return large pot to stove over medium heat and add remaining 3 tbsp. of olive oil. Add garlic scapes, and cook stirring frequently for about 5 minutes. They should sizzle. If they don’t, adjust the heat. Add remaining 1 tbsp. of crushed red pepper. Add fennel and tomatoes and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until fennel softens slightly. Add vinegar.
- Add sausage mixture and stir until it is warmed through. Add pasta and pasta water and stir until everything is fully warmed through. Serve immediately, seasoning with pepper and Parmesan cheese.