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seashell pasta with tomatoes, sausage and plentiful pecorino

Pasta shaped like seashells are the perfect vessels for a creamy sauce made of tomatoes, hot Italian sausage and cream. The seashells are like a big, cozy hug. A gentle drizzle of Olinda olive oil sets this dish off. As a private chef based in Charleston, South Carolina, I am really proud to create my menus off of what the local purveyors have available. I use hot Italian sausage from Ted's Butcherblock and it is seriously incredible. Go get yourself some! As soon as it starts sizzling in the pan, the whole kitchen smells good. The sausage caramelizes in the pan and releases its spiciness. The addition of the tomatoes and white wine provides slight sweetness and acidity while the heavy cream creates a lusciousness that will help everything melt together. Freshly grated pecorino adds a level of swagger and saltiness. Cheese makes world go round, feel me?

seashell pasta with sausage
seashell pasta with sausage

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 1/2 pounds mild or hot Italian sausage, casings removed

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 cup dry white wine

1 1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree (from a 15-ounce can), ideally with no salt added

A little pinch of salt

1 3-inch Parmigiano-Reggiano rind, optional

1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 cup cream

1 cup of frozen petite peas, optional

1 pound seashell pasta

Grated pecorino, for garnish and happiness

Parsley, chopped, for garnish

In a large frying pan, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up the meat with a fork or the back of a large spoon, until the sausage is fully cooked and no longer pink, about 8 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the sausage from the pan. Leave the fat in the pan. It is all about flavor, baby.

Reduce the heat to low. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about one minute. Add the wine and cook until it almost evaporates, about 5 minutes. Stir in the sausage, tomatoes, salt and optional Parmigiano-Reggiano rind. Simmer on low for 10 minutes. Add the pepper, parsley, and cream. Add peas. Cook until the flavors combine and the peas are fully cooked, about 10 minutes.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and toss with the sauce. Serve with grated pecorino and parsley.


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