Pasta with Sausage, Greens & Chickpeas
We love this pasta dish because it’s so easy to pull off. There’s no chopping at all, and for most of the cooking time, you’re basically just dropping ingredients in a pan. It’s perfect for those crazy midweek evenings, when you don’t have the time — or enough hands on deck — to prep a bunch of veggies, but you still need to get something wholesome on the table for your family.
For all that simplicity, it’s also sneakily scrumptious. The Italian sausage is full of savory heat; the escarole is wilty and mildly bitter. We fry the chickpeas in the sausage’s fat and smash them little, so they develop a crispy, golden exterior but stay soft in the center. And, just before serving, we swirl a pat of butter through the dish. It combines with the wine, Parm, and a little of pasta’s cooking water to create a sauce — the creamy coating that pulls it all together. Sprinkle a little crumble of crispy fried rosemary over top, and suddenly you feel like you’re eating in a restaurant. Go with that feeling: pour yourself a glass of wine.
Our tip: We’d pair this dish with a lush, fruit-forward red that can handle the Italian sausage and rosemary, like Gelson’s Cabernet Sauvignon.
⅓ cup olive oil
2 sprigs rosemary
8 oz spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
1 15.5-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
¼ cup dry white wine
12 oz rigatoni pasta
8 cups escarole leaves, torn and lightly packed
¾ cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated, divided
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high. Fry the rosemary sprigs, turning, until crisp, about 2 minutes. Remove the rosemary from the oil and transfer to paper towels to drain.
In the same pot, cook the sausages, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon and stirring occasionally, until browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer the meat to a plate with a slotted spoon.
Add the chickpeas to the same pot and cook, tossing occasionally and mashing some of the chickpeas with the back of a spoon, until browned in spots, about 5 minutes. Transfer about half of the chickpeas to the sausage plate.
Add the white wine to the same pot, bring it to a simmer, and cook the mixture until the liquid is almost completely evaporated, about 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water, stirring occasionally, until it’s very al dente, about 3 minutes less than the package directions. Do not drain it.
Using a pasta spider or a slotted spoon, transfer the pasta to the pot with the chickpeas. Add the escarole and 1 cup of the pasta cooking liquid. Cook, tossing often, until the escarole is wilted, the pasta is a little less al dente, and the sauce is thickened, about 4 minutes.
Add another ¼ cup of the pasta cooking liquid, then gradually add ½ cup of the Parmesan, tossing until the cheese has melted and dissolved into a luxurious, glossy sauce.
Thin the sauce with more pasta cooking liquid, if needed. Season with pepper, and more salt, if needed. Add the butter and toss to combine, then mix in the reserved sausage and chickpeas.
Divide the pasta among 4 bowls. Crumble the fried rosemary over the top of the pasta and sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup of Parmesan.
Recipe source: Bon Appetit