For beginners, this is an excellent pasta dish to prepare because the pasta is easy to cook and although there’s a lot of complex flavours it isn’t time sensitive like other pasta dishes. I use an Italian sausage that isn’t spicy because I can add chilli flakes later if I want, but if you’re really into spicy then use a spicy Italian sausage. Alternatively you could use a chicken or turkey sausage but keep in mind the meat will be a bit drier when you cook it out of it’s casing. Make sure you don’t use sweet breakfast style sausages.
I used asparagus in this dish but I often rotate it with rapini (broccoli rabe) which is a very commonly used vegetable in many Italian dishes. The edible tops of rapini resembles broccoli but with much smaller heads. The stem and leaves are also edible but slightly bitter. It’s a nice compliment to the smooth mild ricotta cheese.
This is a creamy and filling pasta dish that tastes amazing as your main dish or in small portions as an appetizer. In addition this would be great to add to your hors d’oeuvres for an intimate cocktail party. Any left overs are amazing reheated.
500 grams Farfalle pasta (bowtie pasta) or another short pasta
1 lb Italian sausages, mild and out of casings
1 large red onion chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 large bunch of asparagus, tough fibrous ends chopped off and cut into 2″ pieces
1 cup sliced black olives
1/2 cup of sun dried tomatoes finely chopped
2 cups of ricotta cheese
1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
3/4 cup toasted pine nuts (optional)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
In a large heavily salted pot bring water to a boil. When water is boiling add pasta and cook 1 minute under manufacturer’s direction. The pasta should be almost cooked but still with a bit of a bite. In the meantime, chop onion, mince garlic, clean & chop up asparagus. Drain sun dried tomatoes of oil and finely chop. In a large pot heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and add your onions. Cook about 3 minutes on medium heat until they start to soften. Add your garlic and cook another 1 minute. Add your sausage out of it’s casing and start to break it up to resemble small pieces about the size of a grape. Once your sausage is about half-way cooked add the asparagus and until sausage is mostly cooked. Turn up the element to high then add 1/2 cup of white wine and let reduce almost half, about 5 minutes. Turn down sausage mixture to low-medium until the pasta is cooked. Once your pasta is cooked drain and add to your sausage mix and stir well. Add sun dried tomatoes, olives and ricotta cheese and mix well. Add 1-2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper. Add 2 tsp of chilli flakes if you like it spicier. Cook about 5-7 more minutes or until the dish is good and hot and ricotta cheese isn’t cold. Turn off element and serve topped with toasted pine nuts, drizzled olive oil and freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese.
SERVE WITH………Garlic butter crostini and Argula salad with tomato and cucumber with balsamic dressing
WINE PAIRING…….Chilean Chardonnay or Dry French White wine like Baron d’Arignac