Escarole, Sausage and White Wine Pasta
I love making pastas that are simple to cook, in a short period of time, but still taste delicious and look impressive. This dish checks all those boxes; the Italian sausage adds so much flavor to the dish and works well with the slightly bitter escarole and sweetness of the wine. If you are timing this dish for dinner, make the sauce through cooking down the escarole and hold that until ready to serve. About 10-15 minutes before it's time to eat, cook the pasta and reheat the sauce and continue to follow the recipe from there.
Your Time: 35 minutes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound Italian sweet sausage (out of casings)
2 tablespoons minced garlic (about 3-4 cloves)
1/4-1/2 teaspoon Calabrian chili paste or crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more for salting pasta water and to taste
1 cup dry white wine (such as pinot grigio)
1 pound cavatappi
2 medium heads escarole, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1/3 cup grated parmesan, plus more to garnish
Zest of 1 lemon
Heat a high sided sauté pan over medium heat. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil.
Add the olive oil and let it heat up about 1 minute. Once the oil is hot, add in the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon into smaller chunks. Brown the sausage on all sides, about 8-10 minutes. Remove to a paper towel lined sheet tray. Stir in the garlic, chili paste, and salt and toast for about 1 minute, or until very fragrant. Deglaze the pan with the wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any food that is caramelized on the bottom. Bring the wine to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer the sauce for about 8 minutes or until the wine is reduced to about a 1/3 - 1/4 cup.
While the wine simmers, cook your pasta in the boiling water until al dente, about 8 minutes. Reserve about 1 cup of pasta cooking water before straining the pasta.
When the wine has reduced, stir in the chopped escarole and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the escarole is cooked down and tender; you may need to add the escarole in batches if it doesn’t all fit in your pan. Season the escarole and white wine sauce with more salt to taste. Add the sausage back into the sauté pan and stir to combine. Next stir in the pasta and grated parmesan. Ladle in the pasta cooking water, about ¼ cup at a time, stirring until the parmesan melts into the sauce and the sauce coats all the pasta evenly. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon zest. Serve immediately with more parmesan to garnish.