A couple of weeks ago I wrote about pesto and the seasonal shift that forces our tastes to change as the days grow longer. I crave pasta year round, not willing to do without it, so that means adjusting heavy sauces and creams or replacing with fresh and lighter ingredients.
Today I was in the mood for one of my regular go-to's, but felt like changing it up a bit. It could've been anything: Asparagus or the addition of a half-cup of pine nuts, maybe. Herbs. Lamb sausage and a swath of mint or some lemon zest. The possibilities are endless. I went with my stand-by (spicy sausage and rapini) but added peas for sweetness. And instead of the usual orrechiette, I snagged some fiorelli, with their fluted, crimped edges.
Fiorelli with Spicy Sausage, Rapini and Sweet Green Peas
A couple of spicy Italian sausages stripped of their casings and pan-fried in olive oil until crispy and crumbled. Toss in a couple finely diced shallots and a few cloves of minced garlic. Put a pot of salted water on to boil while you chop a bunch of rapini loosely, without fussiness; add to your sauté pan, just until it wilts but not so long that it looses its crispness. A few moments before you stir-in your al dente pasta, drop a cup or so of fresh or frozen peas; the heat of the pan will cook them just enough. Toss with the pasta, adding more oil as needed. Salt and pepper to taste and a quick squeeze of lemon never hurts anybody. Chili peppers, maybe, a palm full of minced Scotch bonnets or a swirl of chili oil might be nice, too. Whatever you want. The whole process should take 15 minutes.
Smack it with fresh parmesan and pair with a glass of bright white wine. The sweetness of the peas against the spice of the sausage and the bitterness of the greens --- springtime perfection.
IN OTHER PASTA-RELATED NEWS
From Scratch (January 31, 2012)
Presto, It's Pesto (April 17, 2012)