As I previously mentioned, we’ve been on a bit of a sausage kick lately. As my mother so graciously pointed out to me, it is not the healthiest meat we could possibly be eating, so I found a recipe that was able to break up just bits and pieces of it, and mix it into a dish. The tomatoes keep this dish feeling light and summery, but the red pepper and sausage definitely kicks it up a notch. The flavors are both invigorating and satisfying – and perfect for a quick and easy summer meal out on the porch.
1 lb orcecchiette pasta
1/4 c olive oil
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (original calls for 1/2 tsp, I found it was just a tad to spicy)
3/4 lb sweet italian sausage, casings removed
1/4 lb provolone, grated
Cook orecchiette in boiling water until al dente (about 12-15 minutes). Before draining, scoop out 3/4 of the pasta water and set aside.
Meanwhile, drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan over moderate to high heat and let simmer. Place sausage in 1-inch clumps, and let cook completely, flipping once (about 8 minutes total). Remove from pan and set aside.
Add 2 tbsp of olive oil to saucepan and reduce to moderate heat. Add tomatoes and red pepper flakes. Press down on tomatoes slightly, and stir continuously for about four minutes. Add pasta water set aside from earlier and a pinch of salt, and let simmer for about 5 minutes, until tomatoes have softened and half of the liquid is absorbed.
Add remaining tablespoon of olive oil, pasta, and sausage into saucepan. Stir and let cook for about three minutes, until pasta is well coated. Remove from heat.
Add in grated provolone, stir, and serve immediately.