Orecchiette with Mascarpone, White Beans and Sausage

Orecchiette with Mascarpone, White Beans and Sausage-2.jpg

This is a super simple, super satisfying meal to make.  Pasta with hearty sausage and white beans, a creamy sauce made from mascarpone cheese and pasta water, and a shower of fresh herbs and Parmesan cheese.  Even my mom said it was good and she’s a tough crowd.

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Remember that fennel sausage recipe from yesterday?  It’s perfect here…in fact, I made it for the first time just to use in this dish.  So good.

Mascarpone and pasta are a perfect match.  I sometimes add a spoonful of mascarpone to red sauce to make it creamy, and I remember my friend telling me how life-changing it was for her to discover this and add it to her repertoire.  But who knew a deliciously creamy sauce could be made with just mascarpone and pasta water?!

Giada de Laurentiis did, that’s who.  She’s one of the first cooking personalities I remember watching; in middle school, I used to come home and watch Giada and Rachael Ray on Food Network.  I like to think this is where it all began for me (that and becoming obsessed with my mom’s cookbooks).  She’s also the one who introduced me to mascarpone cheese…how did I go half my life without knowing about this amazing substance?!  I stock up at Trader Joe’s because it’s reasonably priced and tasty.

A somewhat stocked pantry and fridge, or a little planning ahead, and this pasta can be all yours!

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Orecchiette with Mascarpone, White Beans and Sausage

  • Author: Amanda
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
  • Category: Pasta, Pork

Description

A super simple, super simple pasta with hearty sausage and white beans, a creamy sauce made from mascarpone cheese and pasta water, and a shower of fresh herbs and Parmesan cheese!


Ingredients

  • 1 pound orecchiette pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 pound Italian sausage, casings removed if necessary
  • 6 ounces (3/4 cup) mascarpone cheese, at room temperature 
  • One 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Parmesan cheese, for serving
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.  Season generously with salt and cook the pasta until al dente according to package directions.  Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining.
  2. Preheat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil; when hot, add the minced shallots.  Season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Increase the heat to medium-high, add the sausage; cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until golden-brown and cooked through.  Remove from the heat.  Add the mascarpone cheese, stirring to melt.  Add a splash of pasta water to thin the sauce slightly.  Add the drained beans, and gently toss to combine.  Add the drained pasta, again gently stirring to combine.  Take care not to break up the beans (you may want to use a rubber spatula).  If the sauce is too thick, thin with more pasta water until it reaches your desired consistency.  Add the oregano and parsley and salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Notes

Inspiration: Orecchiette with Sausage, Beans and Mascarpone on foodnetwork.com

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