Orecchiette with Italian Sausage, Caramelized Onion Meatballs, Cannellini Beans and Escarole
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 package Italian Style with Mozzarella Cheese, cut into ¼-inch thick rounds
- 1 package Caramelized Onion Meatballs, left whole
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 1 28-oz can Italian style tomatoes with juices (such as San Marzano), chopped, or 2 cups chopped peeled and seeded fresh tomatoes
- 1 15-oz can cannellini beans, drained, or 2 cups drained cooked dried cannellini beans
- 1 medium head escarole, coarsely chopped (about 6 cups)
- 2 fresh sage leaves, minced
- 1/2 pound dried orecchiette, bow tie (farfalle), pinwheels or other large twisted pasta
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Canned beans work fine in this recipe.
You an also use great northern or navy beans
To cook dried beans, soak 2 cups cannellini beans overnight in water to cover. Drain and then simmer in 2 quarts of fresh water until the beans are tender but not falling apart. Begin sampling after 40 minutes and continue to test every 20 minutes. Use 2 cups drained cooked beans in this recipe; reserve the remainder for another use.
- In a large deep skillet over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the sausage and meatballs and cook until sausages brown, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and carrots and cook unit the onion is translucent, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, beans, escarole and sage. Bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Cover, adjust heat so liquids simmer and cook until carrots are just tender, about 10 minutes. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Before using, rewarm in a large deep skillet, adding about ½ cup water and stirring frequently.)
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to the bite (al dente), about 9 minutes. Reserve about 1 cup pasta cooking liquid, then drain the pasta.
- Mix the pasta into the sauce, adding enough pasta cooking liquid to moisten, if needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a shallow serving bowl, and drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Serve in shallow bowls, garnished with Parmesan cheese.