Friday, March 31, 2006

Friday Food #12: Pasta with Sausage and Lettuce

Ick, that recipe title sounds pretty awful, doesn't it? It sounds a little better on epicurious, which calls it "Spaghetti with Italian Sausage and Mixed Greens," but I don't use mixed greens. Truth in advertising, that's what we strive for here.

A little history, maybe. Although my children are ardent segregationists about their food, carefully dividing the veggies from the meat, the pasta from the sauce, I am an equally committed integrationist. I love a mess on the plate, somehow. This has been known (avert your gaze, purists!) to extend to piling up spaghetti on top of a plateful of dressed salad. Spaghetti with a meaty red sauce, especially. I can't say what I like so much about this, but --though it looks disgusting, I freely grant-- somehow it tastes better to me than the already-delicious components presented separately. So when I found a recipe on epicurious that basically authorized my practice, I had to try it.

There's no red sauce in this one, though. You can click the link above to get the epicurious version, but here's mine.

One pound pasta, preferably something long and skinny: spaghetti, linguine, fettucine, etc.

1/2 cup olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
zest of that same half lemon
1 tbl. chopped or minced garlic

1 lb. Italian turkey sausage (my kids will eat the sweet/mild sausage, not the hot)

10-12 cups of romaine lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces

grated parmesan cheese

a very large bowl

Put up a pot of water to boil the pasta, and then start cooking the sausages. You can remove them from their casings and just fry up little lumps of sausage, or you can try to slice them nicely. I usually try to slice and end up with lumps, so you might as well start there.

While the sausage and the pasta cook, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice and zest, and garlic in the bottom of your very large bowl. (Yes, this is basically the dressing for the lemony potato salad as well. When I like something, I make it work extra-hard for me.)

Toss the greens with the dressing, making sure all the greens are coated. You can use mixed baby greens, as the recipe suggests, but the romaine retains its crunch pretty well and tends not to disgust people who hate wilted lettuce. Your call.

When the sausage is cooked, toss it in the bowl with the dressed greens. Drain the pasta and add it to the bowl when it's done. Toss it all together and serve with grated parmesan on the side, or mixed in, as you choose.

This also works with shrimp instead of the sausage, but the sausage makes it a pretty hearty meal for the end of winter when you'd like to be eating more salads but it's still not quite warm enough.

My kids do actually eat this, though they try very hard to pull the lettuce out and eat it first. Nick usually counts the number of leaves, too, but we are working on that.


Susan said...

Libby, it sounds AWFUL, but I am intrigued. If you say so.

Mamacita said...

Yum. This might work well with Boca sausage, too.... I'll let you know!

expatmama said...

Actually this sounds suspiciously similar to a recipe I really like (but have never myself made) called "Sausage, Winter Greens, and Semolina Pasta" (from an Alice Waters cookbook.) My stepmother makes it with kale, and it's really good. Unfortunately I've never seen Italian sausage here, and Spanish sausage is way too heavy on the paprika for something like this...

misti said...

This sounds great to me. There's really nothing odd about it. Pasta with greens, sauce lemon olive oil and garlic. I love it.

I used to have a baybsitter who would make us pot pies and then put salad and olives on top and mix it all in. I loved it as a kid.

Magpie said...

Yum - we did this last night, and even my husband who claims to hate salad like it. I used torn romaine and arugula, and some chicken sausage that was in the freezer - it was really tasty. I might do it again with small pasta though, penne or wheels or something - I confess to a dislike of spaghetti because it's too hard to ear. But thanks for pointing it out!