Originally from Sicily, Casarecce is a short pasta which has been loosely rolled like a scroll, quite similar to Arabian 'pasta busiata' that was made with a 'bus' or reed to curl the pasta. Also known as Maccaruna di Casa, busiate are Sicily’s most famous pasta lunga, and are perfect for soaking up sauces. The deft hands of Sicilian women traditionally turned these out with astonishing speed — knobs of dough were formed into ropes and rolled around a ferretto, similar to a knitting needle. Paired with a classic sauce of Italian sausage and broccoli, Casarecce con Broccoli e Salsiccia is a match made in culinary heaven. Simple, hearty and delicious, this sensational pasta is also excellent combined with sautéed leeks, anchovies and mushrooms for a fabulous full flavoured dish, the ideal comfort food for a chilly Autumn evening.
Casarecce with Italian Sausage, Broccoli, Leeks & Cremini Mushrooms
1 lb casarecce pasta
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 lb sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 lb broccoli florets
8 oz cremini mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and sliced
1 small leek, trimmed, cut in half length-wise and finely slice
1 tbsp finely chopped tarragon
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup freshly grated Pecorino
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the casarecce and cook according to package instructions. Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium high heat. Crumble the sausage and anchovies into the skillet and cook, breaking apart with a spoon, until lightly browned, 5-6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the sausage from the pan and set aside in a small bowl. Add the mushrooms to the same pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook 5 minutes until they start to brown. Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining olive oil, garlic and chopped leeks and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
Then add the broccoli florets and red pepper flakes, and sauté for 2 minutes, then add the sausage and mushrooms to the pan along with the wine. Cook, stirring frequently, until the broccoli is tender-crisp and the sauce is warmed through, about 5-6 minutes. Stir in the butter until melted and simmer for a few minutes to reduce and concentrate the sauce.
Drain the pasta well and add to the sausage and broccoli mixture, tossing well to blend. Stir in half of the grated cheese taste and chopped tarragon, and adjust the seasoning to taste. Transfer the pasta to a serving platter or individual bowls, sprinkle with a little extra grated cheese, and place the remainder in a small bowl for guests to help themselves.