Whenever I think about what I will write in my blog during the week…I think of an ingredient that I want to cook with and try to come up with a way to make it colorful and a little healthier than ordering take out.
I was in the mood for a comfort food. I wanted spicy sausage. I went to my fabulous winter farmers market and went straight to the meat vendor. They raise their animals cage free to roam their countryside in Honesdale, PA. The meat even tastes differently than how I buy it in the grocery store. I purchased the spicy sausage and although it wasn’t as spicy as other farms, I didn’t care. It had almost a sweet, honey flavor. When I traveled to Greece in 2005, we went to several local spots for dinner and the meat tasted completely different than here. I didn’t even like it at the time. I was craving the wrong kind of meat, which, unbeknownst to me, was being raised in a caged environment and given hormone treatments to make them bigger to sell them even faster. Even when you look at Norman Rockwell’s “Freedom From Want” panting of the family eating Thanksgiving dinner, the turkey is shaped differently. The breast of the turkey isn’t the largest part. Now that I’ve completely changed my eating habits, I’ve gotten used to eating more organic food and cage free animals. It really does make a difference.
So, in this dish, I wanted some comfort of a filling, tasty dish with some color! I had a dish of orecchiette with a cream sauce and sausage and a vegetable. I decided, let’s make a comfort dish even healthier and make it with a tomato sauce. I sizzled the organic pork sausage, then removed it and put it to the side, but then put in the onions and garlic. I then added the broccolini to soak up all of the flavors of the sausage. I added some tomato paste for an intense flavor profile. I removed everything, put it in a bowl and began to make my regular tomato sauce. I always add a ½ cup of pecorino grated cheese to my tomato sauce, because it adds a depth and saltiness that works really well with pasta. I fell in love with the look and taste of orecchiette and it adds a simple and cozy look to this entire dish.
Spicy Sausage Broccolini w/Orecchiette Marinara
2 cups of orecchiette pasta
1 lb of spicy sausage (remove casing and slice into coins)
1 bunch of broccolini (chopped)
1 large onion (chopped)
2 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 can (22 oz) of San Marzano crushed tomato sauce
1 cup chicken broth
4 bay leaves
1 tbsp basil (dried or fresh)
1 tbsp oregano (dried)
½ cup pecorino cheese (grated)
1 bunch flat leaf parsely
1 red jalapeno pepper (sliced and seeded)
In a pot on medium to high heat, sizzle the sausage until it is cooked on all sides (about 7 minutes). Remove and place in a bowl. Add the onions and garlic and sizzle until they are cooked, then add the broccolini. Cook until it is tender, then remove and place in the same bowl as the sauce. Salt and pepper to taste.
In a separate pot, add water and salt and boil. Add the pasta to the water and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta after it is cooked, pour some olive oil on it to keep the pasta from sticking to each other.
In the same pot, add the crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, bay leaves, basil, oregano and pecorino cheese, stir well and it is simmer. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir intermittently and wait for it to be a slightly thick consistency. You don’t want it too thick, because you will be adding the pasta at the end. After this, add the sauce and vegetables to the pot. Add the cook pasta to the pot and stir gently. Plate in a bowl for serving or on each plate and adorn with fresh parsley and a thinly sliced pepper (if you like it spicy)! Enjoy!!!