Sunday, February 12, 2012

Make Ahead Sundays: Orechiette with Sausage, Beans, and Mascarpone

Ever since I went back to work after our second child, I've started spending my Sundays in the kitchen, making several meals in hopes of making our weeknights a little less chaotic.  This usually involves 2 meals with enough servings to last 2 nights each and at least one of them can be thrown in the oven or microwaved (without compromising taste of course!).  I try to freshen things up by serving a fresh salad from our garden on the side - lettuce/carrots in the winter or tomato/cucumber in the summer.  Here's what's on the menu this week:

Orechiette with Sausage, Beans, and Mascarpone


  • 1 pound orechiette pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2-1 pound turkey sausage, casing removed (1package)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped fresh kale or spinach leaves (optional, but I like to add something from the garden to make it a little more "green")
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese (1 container)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Grated Parmesan Reggiano for serving


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook al dente according to package directions. Drain pasta reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
In a large, heavy skillet warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage. Using a wooden spoon break up the sausage into bite-sized pieces as it browns. Continue cooking until the sausage is golden  (about 10 minutes).  Add the onions (& kale if using kale) and cook on medium heat until are tender (about 7 minutes). Add the beans and oregano (& spinach if using spinach) cook for 2 more minutes. Add the cup of pasta cooking liquid and stir, scrapping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the mascarpone cheese and stir until it dissolved into a light sauce. Add the salt, pepper, and hot pasta. Stir until coated and serve. Top with grated parmesan.

Adapted based on an original recipe by Giada De Laurentiis.

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