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July 11, 2006

Old Favorites

Though you wouldn't know it from the Alinea post, blogging time has actually been a little scarce as of late. So I figured I'd resurrect a few of the ancient posts that didn't make the move from the old blog. On top of which, this pasta is one of my favorites, so I had to get it in somewhere. As always, the Ten Commandments of Dried Pasta apply.

Dominic Armato
1/2 C. golden raisins
4-5 green onions
1/2 Lb. sweet Italian sausage
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. Turmeric
1/2 C. heavy cream
salt & pepper
1 Lb. cavatappi
coarse sea salt
grated parmigiano reggiano

Cavatappi with Sausage,
Raisins and Turmeric Cream

Serves 3 as an entree, 5-6 as a primo

First, get your water on the stove, because nothing stinks more than having your sauce just about ready and realizing that your water's going to be another hour. And while that's going, you can get the other ingredients ready. Soak the raisins in hot tap water for about 20 minutes so they soften, then drain them and pat them dry. As for the green onions, slice the white and light green portions very thinly on a diagonal, discarding the dark green portions. It's best to slice the green onions right before you use them, but if they're going to sit for a bit, seal them in something airtight... tupperware or a bowl covered in saran wrap... so all of the tasty stuff doesn't evaporate. Also, remove the sausage from its casings and crumble it up a little bit.

In a large skillet (ideally large enough to hold the entire pound of pasta), combine the butter and olive oil over medium-low heat and swirl around until the butter is completely melted. Add the sliced green onions and cook 'em for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they soften. Be sure the heat is low enough that the butter doesn't brown. If it starts to, pull the pan off the heat, give it a moment, then turn the burner down a bit before putting the skillet back. Once the onions are softened, increase the heat to medium-high and immediately add the sausage, stirring and breaking it apart as it cooks. Once the sausage has lost its raw color, add the turmeric and raisins and cook, stirring, for about two minutes so the turmeric mixes in and gets nice and fragrant. Reduce the heat to medium and add the cream, cooking for another 2-3 minutes and stirring regularly until the sauce comes together and looks appropriately saucy. Salt and pepper to taste... it's a cream sauce, so you'll need a bunch of salt. Don't be shy.

Meanwhile, cook your cavatappi. Right before you drain the pasta, drop 2-3 Tbsp. of the starchy pasta water in the sauce, and stir it in. Drain the pasta, combine it with the sauce, and cook them together for over low heat for a minute, so the pasta absorbs a bit of the sauce and the starch has a chance to thicken it. Serve the pasta with parmigiano reggiano and garnish with anything else you deem appropriate. A little sprinkle of turmeric looks slick, but gets overpowering pretty quickly. Be gentle.


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