Frankies Spuntino: Cavatelli with Sausage and Sage Browned Butter
My best friend and I had our ‘usual spot’ in New York, where we dished about life, love, work, and many other wine-fueled juicy details. Needless to say, we also had our ‘usual dish.’ Enjoy this recipe courtesy of Frankies own cookbook, and pair with your favorite bottle of red and your very favorite friend for a perfect night in.
Cavatelli with Sausage and Sage Browned Butter
1 pound hot Italian pork sausage (4 to 6 links depending on the size of the sausage)
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
8-10 sage leaves
freshly ground white pepper
ricotta cavatelli (recipe below)
1 cup grated Pecorino Romano
½ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
Put a large pot of water on to boil and salt it well.
Meanwhile, put the sausage into your widest saute pan with ½ of water and turn the heat to medium. After 10 minutes, flip the sausages over and simmer the for another 5 minutes (replenish the water if it threatens to boil off). After 15 minutes, the sausages should be firm and cooked through. Remove the sausages to a cutting board (discard the water) and slice them into coins just shy of ½ inch. (You can do this an hour or even a day ahead of time if you like.)
Add 1 tablespoon of the butter to the pan and turn the heat to medium-high. After a minute, add the sausage coins in an even layer and let them cook, untouched, unstirred, unfussed with, until they’re deeply browned on the first side. (If there’s not enough room to brown all the sausage in one pan — which there will very probably not be — split it between two pans or brown it in two batches and use as additional tablespoon of butter.) Flip and brown them on the B side. The browning is integral to the ultimate depth of flavor of the finished dish — don’t stint on it. When the sausage is browned, remove it from the pan (a plate lined with paper towels is a nice place to hold it) and return the pan to the burner.
Keep the heat at medium-high and add the sage, the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter, and a few twists of white pepper. Stire the butter and scrape the browned bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. After a minute or two, it should stop foaming and start to take on color. That’s when you should drop the ricotta cavatelli into the boiling water. Continue to cook the butter until it’s deeply browned and fragrant, about 4 minutes more, which should be just about how long the cavatelli takes to cook.
Do not drain the cavatelli too thoroughly. The water clinging to the pasta will give the sauce body. Add it to the butter sauce along with the sausage and stir.
Add the cheese, stir again, and portion the cavatelli among several serving plates. Scatter each with a couple of pinches of parsley. Serve immediately.
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting the pasta
1 pound (about 1 pint) ricotta
1 large egg
Pinch of fine sea salt
Up to ¼ cup milk or water if necessary to adjust the dough
Combine the flour, cheese, egg, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and knead on medium speed until the dough comes together in a shaggy, integrated mass that clings to the hook. If the dough looks dry and refuses to coalesce into a ball, add milk by the tablespoon to encourage it. Remove the dough from the mixer and knead it by hand for a couple of minutes to smooth it out. Or, if you don’t have a mixer [** note from TasteSpotting editors: and why don’t you have a KitchenAid stand mixer?!] use the well method mixing together the egg and ricotta (instead of egg and water) and plopping that down in the center of the well. Otherwise, it works the same way.
Clamp the cavatelli maker onto the edge of the counter or work surface. Cut the ball of dough into 4 equal pieces. Roll each ball into a snake just less than 1″ thick. Crank the snakes through the cavatelli machine, lightly dust the cavatelli with flour, and arrange on a baking sheet. Use at once or hold for up to 1 day in the fridge.
To cook, drop the cavatelli into a large pot of well-salted boiling water and cook for 4 minutes after the first few begin to float on top of the water. Drain, sauce and serve.