Orecchiette with Sausage & Chard

This is a variation of one of my favorite Italian restaurant dishes, orecchiette with sausage and broccoli rabe. It was fast to prepare and really full-flavored- incorporating anchovies, freshly ground fennel seeds, and lots of garlic. Great.

This recipe was adapted from 177milkstreet.com, contributed by Jeanne Maguire. I substituted jarred fire-roasted red peppers and brine for Peppadew peppers. I used a combination of sweet and hot Italian sausage as well.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

  • 12 ounces orecchiette pasta
  • coarse salt
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound (about 6) sweet or hot Italian sausage, casings removed (I used 2/3 sweet (4) and 1/3 hot sausage (2))
  • 3 anchovy fillets, minced
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds, ground
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped mild Peppadew peppers or fire-roasted red peppers, plus 1 T brine (I used Trader Joe’s)
  • 8 to 10 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound Swiss chard, stems and leaves separated
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth or stock, divided
  • 3 T freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
  1. Remove the stems from the chard leaves and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Soak in a bowl of water, drain, and set aside.
  2. Cut the leaves into 3-inch wide ribbons; wash and drain. Set aside.
  3. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente.
  4. Drain, return to the pot and toss with 1 tablespoon of oil. Set aside.
  5. Meanwhile, in a 12-inch skillet (with a lid available) over medium-high, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil until shimmering. (I used a large enameled cast iron pan.)
  6. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it into small chunks, until well browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel-lined plate. Discard all but 1 T of the drippings from the pan.
  7. Add the anchovies, ground fennel seed, and peppers to the skillet and cook over medium, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  8. Stir in the garlic and chard stems, then cook until the garlic is aromatic, about 30 seconds.
  9. Add 1/4 cup of the stock and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until most of the liquid evaporates, 1 to 2 minutes.
  10. Stir in the chard leaves and the remaining 1/2 cup broth. Cover, reduce to medium-low and cook until the leaves are wilted, about 2 to 4 minutes.
  11. Scrape the chard mixture into the pot with the pasta. (I added the pasta to the pot with the chard instead!)
  12. Add the sausage and 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir over medium-low until the pasta is heated through, about 1 minute.
  13. Gradually stir in the Parmesan, then the Peppadew or roasted red pepper brine.
  14. Taste and season with salt. Serve sprinkled with more Parmesan.

New Orleans Red Beans and Rice with Pickled Peppers

My family was very skeptical when I said that I was making Red Beans and Rice for dinner (read: they were complaining).  This quick dish changed their minds!  It was delicious.

I did add extra bacon (because I had it on hand), which may have improved the flavor, but I don’t think that it was necessary.  I used Trader Joe’s jarred roasted red peppers and fire roasted jalapeños instead of the Peppadew peppers and pickled jalapeño.

We ate it with brown Basmati rice. The recipe instructs to top the beans with a mound of rice-  I thought that it was more aesthetically pleasing served over the rice.  🙂 This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine.

  • 4 ounces thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 inner celery rib, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pickled jalapeño or jarred fire roasted jalapeños, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped Peppadew peppers or jarred roasted red peppers, plus more for garnish
  • two 15-ounce cans red kidney beans
  • 1 cup chicken stock or broth
  • coarse salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • rice, for serving (I used brown Basmati rice)
  • parsley, for garnish
  1. In a large saucepan, cook the bacon over moderately high heat, stirring, until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the onion, celery, garlic, pickled jalapeño and 1/4 cup of peppers and cook, stirring, until softened, 5 to 6 minutes.
  3. Add the beans with their liquid and the chicken stock and bring to a boil.
  4. Simmer over moderate heat until the liquid is slightly reduced, 8 minutes. Season the beans with salt and pepper.
  5. Mound rice in each serving dish and ladle the beans over the top. Garnish with chopped parsley or more peppers, as desired, and serve right away.

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