Thursday, September 1, 2011

Penne alla Pastora - Shepherd's Penne

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Inspired by Lidia as featured on her show, Lidia's Italy on the Calabria episode, I'm presenting another pasta dish. There was not much that I changed to the recipe but I used penne pasta instead of rigatoni which was used on the show, hence the change in the recipe name as well. I knew it was time to try this out when I was given free basil leaves by a friend today. Since they don't last very long and I don't really fancy making pesto sauce right now, this pasta dish will have to do.

I'm also slowly getting the hang of completing the cooking process for the pasta in the sauce that will be used to dress it up. It actually improves the taste I think and gives you more control on how much sauce to use, if using any. This also gives me a newfound respect for pasta water which was previously relegated to being just the liquid to cook the pasta in and is discarded without any thought afterwards. Now, I try to have it on the side just in case I will need more liquid whenever I'm cooking pasta dishes.

*Penne alla Pastora - Adapted  

1 lb Italian sausage
1 lb penne pasta
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
3 tbsp olive oil plus extra
basil leaves

1. Heat a pot of water and bring to a boil.

2. In a deep saute pan, poach the sausages in 1/2 cup water until the water

    has evaporated and the sausage is sligthly browned. Remove from heat 
    and chop sausage into smaller pieces. Return to the same pan over 
    medium heat and add the olive oil. Meanwhile, add a tbsp of salt to the 
    boiling water and add the pasta.

3. Cook the sausages until slightly toasted. Add the pepper flakes and mix. 

    Add about 2 cups of pasta water and simmer. 

4. When the pasta has cooked for about 8-9 minutes, transfer them to the 

    sausage mix and continue cooking until al dente. Add more pasta water 
    if needed. 

5. Once the pasta has cooked, add the ricotta and mix well. Turn off the 

    heat and add the parmigiano. Dress with a drizzle of olive oil and serve          with shredded basil leaves.

* PBS, Lidia's Italy - Calabria, Praise the Shepherd episode: 2010    

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