This is a quick gourmet pasta dish that is a nice change from traditional tomato or cream based pasta dishes.
Earlier this year, a gardening friend visited and brought me some Puntarelle plants for my garden. Puntarelle is a type of dandelion and a member of the chicory family. It's easy to grow, very cold tolerant (zone 4) and has an upright growth habit.
The name "Puntarelle" means "little tips" in Italian and Puntarelle in various forms are classic Roman dishes that are eaten from November through February. While Puntarelle are often eaten as a cooked salad, we used ours to make a pasta dish with Italian sausage. To make this recipe, you'll need two pots of water and a skillet going at the same time, but the good news is that by juggling between burners, you can prepare the whole dish in about 20 minutes. That makes it great for evenings when you don't have lots of time to cook and don't want to eat out or do take-out food.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
- 1 pound of dry linguine, spaghetti, or shaped pasta of your choice.
- 4 Italian pork sausages (about 12 ounces) - I use packaged, fully cooked sausages and find they work well and speed cooking time.
- 8 ounces of puntarelle leaves
- Olive oil
- Parmesan cheese
- Bring a large pot of water to boil to cook your pasta and a do the same for a second smaller pot ( 4 cups water) in which you will par boil the puntarelle.
- While the water is coming to a boil, slice the italian sausage into pieces that are about 1/4 inch long and wash the puntarelle leaves.
- When the puntarelle water has come to a boil, drop the leaves into the pot and par boil for 3 minutes. This will both cook the puntarelle and also reduce some of the bitterness of the greens.
- Remove the puntarelle and rinse under cold water. Pat dry them with a paper towel or dry using a salad spinner.
- Cut the puntarelle leaves into 1 inch pieces.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan and add the sausage links that you have already cut into 1/4 inch pieces.
- Cook the sausage over medium heat until they are cooked through and have caramelized on the outside.
- Add the puntarelle to the pan of sausages and cook over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes, stirring periodically to prevent burning. Remove from burner and set aside.
- By now, the pasta water should have come to a full, rolling boil. Add two tablespoons of salt and the pasta to the water and cook per the instructions on the package - generally about 10 minutes.
- When the pasta is done, drain and transfer it to a large bowl.
- Add the sausage and puntarelle and some additional olive oil and toss together.
- Serve immediately. If you like, add grated parmesan cheese or salt and pepper to taste.