Brown Butter, Sage & Sausage Casarecce
SERVES 4 TO 6 AS AN ENTRÉE OR 8 TO 10 AS A SIDE OR STARTER
This recipe is deceptively simple and insanely rich. For an entrée, serve with sautéed dark greens or an escarole salad.
2 tbsp. olive oil 1 lb. bulk sweet Italian sausage with fennel seeds 4 cloves garlic, chopped 1∕2 cup white wine or chicken stock Salt 1 lb. casarecce pasta or other short- cut pasta 6 tbsp. butter 18 to 20 fresh sage leaves 11∕2 cups fresh ricotta 1 cup grated ParmigianoReggiano 1∕2 cup fresh flat- leaf parsley, finely chopped White pepper and a little freshly grated nutmeg (no more than 1∕8 tsp. each)
■ Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.
■ In a large skillet, heat the oil, two turns of the pan, over medium-high. Add the sausage. Cook, occasionally stirring and breaking up the meat with a spoon, until lightly browned, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for a minute. Add the wine. Reduce heat to low. Let simmer while the pasta cooks.
■ Salt the boiling water; add the pasta. Cook until 1 to 2 minutes shy of the package directions. Scoop out about 1 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain.
■ In a small skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the sage leaves. Cook until browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer the leaves to a paper towel. Remove the skillet from heat. Reserve the brown butter.
■ In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, Parm, and parsley. Season with salt, white pepper, and nutmeg. Stir the pasta, cooking water, sausage, and browned butter into the cheeses. Transfer to a platter or divide among shallow bowls. Top with the fried sage.