Saturday, June 30, 2012

Fettucini with Smashed Peas, Sausage and Ricotta Cheese

I have been cooking up a storm lately, but absolutely dreadful about posting.  I'm sorry, $h*t I Bakers!  I return to you with a wonderful Giada recipe, that is a little outside-of-the box, fun and delicious (and did I mention - easy)!  What sounds potentially bland (peas, pasta and ricotta?) get really kicked up with the Italian sausage.  Give this one a shot and let me know your thoughts.

1 pound fresh or dried tagliatelle (I subbed fettucini)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 pound hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1 pound frozen peas, thawed
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1 bunch of fresh basil leaves, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 teaspoon salt

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes if dry or according to package directions if fresh.  Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and garlic in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat until the garlic is fragrant.  Add the sausage and cook, using a wooden spoon to break it up into bite-size bits.
When the sausage has browned, about 5 minutes, push it over to one side of the pan.  Add the peas to the pan and, using the back of the wooden spoon or a potato masher, smash the peas.
(I tried moving the sausage out to all sides, so the peas had a more even pan temperature at the center.  Not reccommended.  The sausage and peas began mixing as I was tyring to smash them and it took me twice as long for this step.)
Turn off the heat.  Add the ricotta cheese to the pan and stir to combine then add the cooked pasta and toss to coat.

Add the pasta cooking water 1/4 cup at a time, if needed, to make the pasta moist.  Add the basil, Pecorino, and the salt.  Toss gently to combine and serve immediately.