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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Use Resources Wisely: Recipe

The Girl Scouts teach us, as part of their Law, to "Use Resources Wisely."  So, while searching for an easy-to-make-in-30 minutes dinner concept, I remembered those words and had a 'voila!' moment.

Sunday's dinner consisted of pasta, Vodka Sauce and a grilled pork pinwheel sausage. We didn't finish the entire pinwheel so I tucked away the left-overs into the refrigerator - secretly knowing that I'd never eat them again and they'd be lost to some sort of inadvertent refrigerator science project. Well, on Monday, I reversed course and actually managed to use those left-overs in an efficient manner. I felt great about having done that and the family peanut gallery seemed pleased, as well!

I used Orecchiette because they're know the pasta shape - they look like little ears? Yep, that's the one.  Here's what Wikipedia has to say about them...
Orecchiette (singular: orecchietta) is a kind of home-made pasta typical of Puglia or Apulia, a region of Southern Italy. Its name comes from its shape, which reminds one of a small ear. In Italian orecchio means ear, and the suffix 'etto' means 'small'. In the vernacular of Taranto it is called recchietedd, or chiancaredd. A slightly flatter version is called 'cencioni', while in the vernacular of Bari, strascinate are more similar to cavatelli. In China a similar type of pasta is called maoerdo (cat's ears).

In Southern Italy women, young or old, sit outdoors in the spring and make the dough into small cylinders, which they cut into little cubes. Then they press down each cube with their right thumb, dragging it on the board, thus making it curl slightly [at this stage you have a 'strascinata']. Then they insert their thumb on the reverse side, making it pop out with a little convex bulge.

Orecchiette with Spinach, Garlic and Sausage
1 lb. Orecchiette pasta (or other dried boxed pasta)
1/2 lb. fresh spinach, washed and picked over
1 cup cooked sausage meat
3 large garlic cloves
1/4 cup great-quality olive oil + 2 Tablespoons extra
1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Bring a large pot of water to boil and add the spinach. Cook at the boil level for about 3 minutes and remove the spinach with a large ladle with holes - and keep the water at a boil. Set spinach aside in a bowl and add the pasta to the already boiling water and cook according to directions on the box.

Meanwhile, finely chop the garlic in a food processor and set aside. In the same processor bowl, finely chop the sausage meat and set aside.

Heat a medium saute pan with 1/4 cup olive oil and when hot, add the garlic. Saute garlic over medium heat - do not burn - about 2 minuted. Next, add the sausage meat and saute until heated through. Lower heat, if need be, while pasta cooks.  Once the pasta is complete, drain and return to cooking pot.  Add the sausage mixture along with the spinach and extra olive oil. Mix well and then add the cheese. Serve!

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