Cooking Cove: Autumn pastas showcase autumn veggies

Cooking Cove: Autumn pastas showcase autumn veggies

Rigatoni with Sausage and Cauliflower

By Barbara Beltrami

Pasta sauces are just as seasonal as other foods. Summer’s over. No more basil pestos or fresh tomatoes, zucchinis and eggplants. Now it’s time for hearty sauces featuring cold weather veggies like broccoli rabe, cauliflower and winter squash paired with beans, nuts and sausage. These are not your traditional tomato-based sauces, but they are full of flavor and texture and protein. They’re the kinds of sauces you usually find only in upscale Italian restaurants and are a whole lot easier to put together than you would think, so give them a try.

Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Cannellini

YIELD: Makes 6 servings.

INGREDIENTS: 

1 large bunch broccoli rabe

½ cup olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

½ cup chicken broth

1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

One 14-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 pound orecchiette pasta

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:

Rinse and trim broccoli rabe. Remove coarse outer leaves and tough parts of stems, then chop into bite-size pieces, taking care to leave florets intact. In a large skillet over moderate heat combine oil, garlic and broccoli rabe; saute garlic and broccoli rabe until garlic is light golden. Add broth, pepper flakes and salt and pepper, partially cover and cook over moderate heat, about 5 minutes. Add beans and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until broccoli rabe is tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large pot of salted water, cook orecchiette according to package directions, drain and transfer to a large serving bowl, toss with broccoli rabe mixture, then sprinkle with grated cheese. Serve immediately with a dry robust white wine.

Rigatoni with Sausage and Cauliflower

Rigatoni with Sausage and Cauliflower

YIELD: Makes 4 to 6 servings.

INGREDIENTS: 

1 head cauliflower, washed, trimmed and separated into bite-size florets 

½ cup olive oil

1 pound Italian sweet sausage, crumbled

2 garlic cloves, minced

One 14-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice

1 teaspoon crushed hot red pepper flakes

½ cup chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 pound rigatoni, cooked according to package directions

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese 

DIRECTIONS:

Sprinkle cauliflower with salt and steam until just tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. In a large skillet heat olive oil over medium heat; add sausage and cook until browned; add garlic, tomatoes with their juice, pepper flakes, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper and cook until mixture is thickened and juice is evaporated. In a large pasta bowl combine sauce and pasta; toss thoroughly and sprinkle with grated cheese. Serve with a Caesar salad.

Penne with Butternut Squash, Hazelnuts and Sage

YIELD: Makes 4 servings.

INGREDIENTS: 

1 large butternut squash, halved and seeded

1 pound penne pasta

½ pound unsalted butter

Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

1/3 cup coarsely ground toasted hazelnuts

8 fresh sage leaves, cut into narrow strips

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 450 F. Place squash on a baking sheet and roast until flesh is very soft, about 45 minutes to one hour. Meanwhile put a pot of salted water on to boil; cook pasta according to package directions; set aside to keep warm. With a serrated spoon scrape out flesh from squash skin; puree in food processor with half the butter until very smooth. Add salt and pepper and stir to thoroughly work in; set aside to keep warm. In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt remaining butter; continue cooking until foam subsides and butter starts to brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in hazelnuts and sage strips. In a large bowl, toss the pasta with the squash puree and brown butter mixture; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately with a spinach and mushroom salad.

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