Recipe: A Celebration of Circles (pasta, sausage, and zucchini)

I love this recipe – it has fantastic visual appeal, and it is very easy. This came out of the Williams-Sonoma Pasta cookbook.

  • four links fresh hot Italian sausage
  • two zucchinis
  • four cloves garlic, crushed then chopped
  • 1 cup dry white wine (red’s OK, too, but white will not turn the zucchini purple)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (although I guess salted is OK – we’re adding salt to this dish, so why should it matter?)
  • 12 oz. rotini (the wagon wheel type)
In a heavy saucepan, heat about a teaspoon of olive oil and saute the garlic until it’s translucent – do not brown. It’s better to undercook the garlic at this stage than to overcook, as there’s plenty more cooking that this stuff will be involved in. Add the sausage, wat

er, and wine. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes. If the sausage is not covered by the liquid, turn them over half way through. Remove the sausage and set aside, and let the liquid continue to simmer until it’s reduced to about a tablespoon or two. In the meanwhile, get get a large pot of salted water boiling for the pasta, and slice the zucchini into nice little circles about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Slice the sausage the same way. Once the wine has been reduced, add the zucchini, sausage, butter, and a tablespoon of olive oil and stir it all up. Add about a half teaspoon of salt, a few turns of freshly grated black pepper, and a pinch (or more) of red pepper flakes. Stir well, and heat on low while you attend to the pasta. Just make sure the sausage has cooked through.
When your pasta is finished (al dente, mind you!), drain, add the remaining olive oil (about 2 teaspoons), and toss. Serve in a large warmed bowl – just mix all of the ingredients together, and top with freshly grated parmesan. With dishes like this, I eyeball the pasta to make sure my proportions are right – I frequently make too much, so put about half the pasta in the bowl, add the sausage / zucchini mix, stir, and then add pasta until it meets your satisfaction from a visual perspective. Serves four.

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