Monday, July 20, 2009

Another Repice (no, not a typo)

This is one of my summer favorites. It's a simple recipe (or "rep-uh-see" as my mother calls it) that features one of my favorite summer ingredients: the squash blossom. Their sweet, delicate earthiness, paired with acidic tomatoes, spicy Italian sausage, and finished with Parmesan Reggiano cheese make for a balanced, delicious, light summery pasta dish.

Orecchiete with Sausage, Heirloom Tomatoes and Squash Blossoms
1 lb orecchiette (or rotini if unavailable)
1 medium yellow onion, rough chop
5 cloves garlic, minced
8-10 crimini mushrooms, thick slices
1 lb grape or cherry tomatoes (I used an heirloom variety)
1 1/2 lbs hot italian sausage (or 1/2 hot, 1/2 sweet), casing removed, chopped
12-15 squash blossoms, cleaned and de-stemmed, with pistle removed
1 medium zucchini, 1/4 in thick coins
12 fresh basil leaves, roughly torn
2/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese
1 tbsp red chili flakes
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and fresh black pepper

In large, heavy-bottomed 5-quart saucepan, brown sausage in 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Don't worry too much if it sticks to the bottom - these tasty goodies will be deglazed later. Just make sure the sausage doesn't burn. After 8-10 minutes, or when sausage is browned and cooked through, remove from pan and set aside.
Deglaze the pan with a small splash of water (1-2 tbsp) and scrape up browned bits. Once water is gone, add remaining oil, garlic and onions, and sweat 2-3 minutes, until softened but not browned. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper at this point. Add tomatoes and cook until tomatoes have wrinkled and some have burst. If pan is dry, add a bit more water.
At this point, cook pasta. Most dried orecchiete takes 9-12 minutes. Cook for 90 seconds less than recommended, as the pasta will be cooked a bit more in the final stage.
Next, add the zucchini and mushrooms to the onions and tomatoes, and cook 4 to 5 minutes until softened. Finally add squash blossoms, sausage, hot pepper, and re-season with salt and pepper. Lower heat to medium-low and toss until blossoms have wilted. If pasta is not done, remove pan from heat.
Drain pasta, reserving a bit of the pasta water, and immediately add to the pan with the sausage and vegetables. Add parsley and basil, and a bit of pasta water if needed, and finish with 3/4 of the Parmesan. Finish with fresh black pepper and a good, grassy extra virgin olive oil.


  1. This looks great. Ive never worked with squash blossoms before but have always wanted to...I will absolutely try this.


  2. Just made this...GRUBBIN. A few thoughts -- Olive oil may not be necessary depending on the sausage, my pork sausage was plenty greasy. I think a combo of sweet (perhaps a fennel sausage?) and spicy sausage would make this an even tastier meal than just spicy sausage -- the meal was just right in my book for spice, but probably too spicy for most. More squash blossoms also woulda been nice. Mushrooms were a bit of a non-player in the final product for me, but mush are always good. All in all, very tasty, Shari and I both approve.