So enjoy this postponed special occasion meal:
I love orecchiette. Something about this handmade pasta seems more special then penne or spaghetti, and at an average $2.50-$3 a box, it should.
At least for the college student, or family on a budget—this is a special occasion meal with special occasion ingredients like orecchiette, goat cheese, and crème fraiche you probably don’t have lying around the house. We really don’t eat like this every night I promise!
I got pretty much all for my special ingredients at Trader Joe’s, at a fraction of the price goat cheese and crème fraiche cost at even your average grocery store. This meal cost me less than $10 to make 3 large dinner sized portions, which is still pretty good considering this meal would be $17-20+ at a restaurant.
If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s—improvise. You can you a little full-fat sour cream instead of crème fraiche. Just make sure to stir it in last so it does not separate with the heat of the stove and acidity of the wine.
But, I must admit, the goat cheese tastes so heavenly on this dish, that if you can get it for $3.50 a log like me (and use only a third of it), DO IT!
This can easily be adapted to a weekday meal especially with the mushrooms, spinach, and turkey sausage that taste so lovely with a pasta noodle and light wine crème sauce. Also, as you might have noticed, this has more dairy, (a.k.a. butter, than a normal night meal), so do yourself a favor and make this for a date-night-at-home, Valentine’s Day, or anniversary (especially if your babysitter is Grandma and you don’t have the luxury of going to a fancy restaurant!)
Either way, this is an easy meal to impress a love one or even a friend, while really no more effort than chopping and sautéing. And trust me, it’s worth the butter!
Orecchiette with Turkey Sausage
and Goat Cheese
(Makes 2-3 dinner sized portions)
1 ½ cup dried Orecchiette
6 oz. mini portabella mushrooms, sliced
½ bag spinach (about 3-4 oz. uncooked)
1 small medium yellow onion (or 3 shallots), finely chopped
2-3 links of turkey sausage, (I used sundried tomato), roughly chopped into chunks
10 oz. dry white wine
2-3 tbsp. crème fraiche
Splash milk of your choice
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. of flour of choice
2 oz. herbed goat cheese, crumbled with your fingers
Boil orecchiette in pot of water according to package instructions. Drain, set aside.
Meanwhile in a large pan over medium heat brown onions and half of the garlic in 1 tbsp. olive oil. Stirring often, you want the onions to soften, and then lightly brown, not burn for about 1-2 minutes.
Add mushrooms 1 tbsp. butter, and of pinch salt, and allow them to brown nicely in the pan with the onions. Once mushrooms are browned add half of the white wine and allow the mushrooms to absorb most of the liquid.
Add turkey sausage chunks to the pan with a little more olive oil if needed and brown sausage until completely cooked through. Use spatula to make smaller pieces as desired.
Add spinach and sautéed until nicely wilted. Add a little garlic powder and pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
Once sausage is cooked and vegetables are nicely browned, add the rest of the garlic and white wine. Reduce to low-medium heat, allowing to simmer. Add splash of milk and half of flour to thicken sauce. Turn of the heat and stir in the crème fraiche. If the sauce is thin, stir in the rest of the flour. Season to taste.
Gently fold the orecchiette into the sauce, gently coating the pasta. Plate the pasta and top with equal crumbled of goat cheese and more black pepper.
Serve immediately with glass of white wine and enjoy a special meal at home!
The College Cuisiner