Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Little ears, Orecchiette and peu d'oreille...

This week's Presto Pasta Night entry was inspired by finding a lovely packet of artisan orecchiette over the weekend. Orecchiette is Italian for 'little ear' - even though Wikipedia reckons it probably originated in France... so shouldn't it be called peu d'oreille?!

Can you imagine how long it takes to make a decent bowlful of the stuff? I found a couple of youtube videos on the subject, both using different methods. This one looks more professional - whereas this one... oh no - I've lost the link... Oh well, suffice to say it seems very labour intensive and would take HOURS to make a bowlful!!

Orecchiette with Spicy Italian Sausage and Broccoli

The meat forms the basis for the sauce in this - so make sure you use good sausages! I wanted some hot Italian Sausages, but they deli didn't have any, so I used Italian garlic and basil pork sausages - and added dried red chilli and paprika as I was cooking.

Have you ever noticed that if you type the word sausages enough it starts to lose its meaning... and almost looks French! Oh - just looked it up I was right - though maybe not for the right reasons!
"The word sausage is derived from Old French saussiche, from the Latin word salsus, meaning salted."
  • 200g tenderstem broccoli
  • 400g italian style sausages
  • 150ml chicken stock (I used bouillon concentrate, made up with the cooking water)
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • tbsp tomato paste
  • tsp paprika
  • tsp dried red chile flakes
  • 250g Orecchiette
  • 100g pecorino romano cheese, finely grated
  • Glug olive oil for frying
  • salt and pepper to taste
Boil a bot of salted water and add the broccoli. Boil for 4 minutes until only just tender and still pretty al dente. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl of cold water to cool.

While the broccoli is cooking, remove the sausage meat from the casings and roughly chop.

Heat the olive oil over a medium heat, then add the meat. Fry for a few minutes til browned - breaking the meat up with a spoon as you go. Once browned, sprinkle over the paprika, chile and garlic.

Once you have removed the broccoli from the water, add the orecchiette and boil for about 10 minutes - until not quite cooked.

While the pasta is cooking, chop up the broccoli fairly finely. and add to the sausage meat.

When the pasta is ready, drain, reserving the cooking liquid. (I used mine to make up the chicken bouillon.)

Add the sausage/ broccoli mixture to the pasta, then add the stock and tomato pasta. Check for seasoning, add pepper and salt as required. Allow to simmer for 3/4 minutes until the orecchiette is fully cooked.

Just before serving, stir in the pecorino cheese.*

* As always, Boyfriend would rather eat his little finger than anything cheesy - so I served up his portion without - it really didn't need the pecorino - but it was a nice addition!

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Ruth Daniels said...

Delicious looking dish if ever I saw one. Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Night.