Monday, December 19, 2011

The Second Time Around

Who knew that the ingredients I used for two Friday night pizzas would show up again on the dinner table Sunday night?

I made a pizza topped with Italian sausage, sauteed onions and mushrooms topped with a mixture of grated cheeses as well as a Margherita pizza using grape tomatoes and mozzarella.  Both were very good served alongside this salad.

The pickled onions gave the salad a nice sweet and sour crunch.

While looking for some inspiration for supper on Sunday, I came across a recipe for pasta using the ingredients I  had in the refrigerator.  I love this kind of cooking, that is making a meal from what is essentially in the pantry.  No outing to the market is involved.  And I get to use the bits and bobs, as Kath would say, so that nothing goes to waste at the end of the weekend.  Mr. No Carbs was just going to have to suffer through two carbohydrate-laden dinners this weekend.

This recipe comes from Philadelphia chef, Marc Vetri, and it's a keeper.  It goes together quickly and is hearty enough for a cold night like last night--and tasty, too.

Orecchiette with Sausage and Cherry Tomatoes
By Marc Vetri                  
Serves 4

1 pound orechiette pasta
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 ounces aged provolone cheese, shredded
3/4 cup reserved pasta water

In a large pot of boiling salted water cook pasta until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 3/4 cup of the cooking water.

Meanwhile, in a large deep skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil until shimmering.  Add the sausage in 1-inch clumps and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until browned and cooked through, about 8 minuets.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer sausage to a plate.

Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to the skillet along with the tomatoes and crushed red pepper; cook over moderate heat, pressing the tomatoes until slightly softened, about 4 minutes.  Add the reserved pasta cooking water, season with salt and cook over moderate heat, scraping up any browned bits and crushing the tomatoes, until the liquid is reduced by half and the tomatoes are nearly broken down, about 5 minutes.

Add the pasta to the skillet along with the sausage and the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and cook, stirring, until the pasta is evenly coated, about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in provolone.  Transfer to bowls and serve.

Cook's Note:  I used hot Italian sausage and eliminated the crushed red pepper.  I rarely buy pre-shredded cheese, but I had a combination of asiago, fontina, Parmesan and provolone, left from the pizza.  Use whatever you like. If you can't get orecchiette, any pasta that will hold the sauce will do.


  1. Good stuff. I just love little orecchiette, and your pickled onions look very enticing. I need to make some. I've been a fan of Italian sausage as far back as I can remember...

  2. The pasta looks awesome, so simple but good. Sausage and cold weather were made for each other.