We’ve been on a bit of an Italian kick around here lately. Although most Italian recipes I cook use tomato-based sauces, this one is a little different. The combination of leeks, sausage and Parmesan made a fantastic dish! BeeBop had seconds. In the interest of fairness and full disclosure, I didn’t make this up. It appeared in a recent issue of Fine Cooking magazine. I did, however, tweak it slightly. I think you could also sneak some tomatoes in there and it wouldn’t suffer any, either :-)
Here’s what you need:
2 tblsp. olive oil
¾ lb. Italian sausage, casings removed
2 large leeks, trimmed, light green and white parts cut into ½ inch pieces
1 tblsp. finely chopped shallot
2 tblsp. butter
1 cup frozen young peas, defrosted and drained
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 lb. campanelle or other short-cut pasta
½ cup grated parmesan cheese; more for serving if you like
Here’s what you do:
Put a large pot of generously salted water on to boil. Cook pasta while preparing sauce. I used campanelle but any short-cut pasta would work. I just like the way the campanelle looks. It sort of looks like a lily, one of my favorite flowers.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
Cook the sausage, breaking it up, until golden in color; about 5 minutes. Speaking of breaking up Italian sausage…you know how ground beef crumbles so nicely and easily when you cook it? Well, Italian sausage does not cooperate in any way, shape or fashion like that. And, well, dadgum it, I want my sausage crumbled, so I just get in there with a potato masher and take care of it. Yes, I want things the way I want them and if it takes a potato masher to get it, so be it :-)
Add the leeks and cook, stirring often, until soft; about 8 minutes. You know, if you don’t want to fool with washing leeks, I wouldn’t blame you. Those things can be really gritty. I think a medium onion, diced, would substitute quite well for the leeks.
Stir in the shallot and cook for 1 minute. The original recipe called for that little bit of shallot and, honestly, I can’t tell that it made a bit of difference. So, if you want to skip it altogether go right ahead.
Add 1 tblsp of butter, the peas, and broth. Heat to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Cover skillet and keep warm until pasta is ready.
Cook the pasta until al dente; about 12 minutes. Drain and return to the pot over low heat.
Add the sausage and leek sauce to pasta and toss well. Remove from heat and add remaining 1 tblsp butter and the grated Parmesan. Toss well. Transfer to a serving platter or individual bowls. Serve immediately with more grated Parmesan on the side.