Ricotta Cavatelli with Sausage and Sage Browned Butter

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Adapted from The Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion & Cooking Manual [Artisan, 2010]

Serves 6 to 8

1 pound hot Italian pork sausage (4 to 6 links depending on the size)
8–10 sage leaves
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
Freshly ground white pepper
2 pounds ricotta cavatelli
1 cup grated Pecorino Romano
½ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped

Put a large pot of water on to boil and salt it well.

Meanwhile, remove the sausage from casings and place them in your widest sauté pan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until deeply browned, about 10–15 minutes. Remove the sausage to a bowl and return the pan to the burner.

Keep the heat at medium-high and add the sage, the butter and a few twists of white pepper. Stir the butter and scrape the browned bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. After a minute or two, it should stop foaming and start to take on color. That’s when you should drop the ricotta cavatelli into the boiling water. Continue to cook the butter until it’s deeply browned and fragrant, about 4 minutes more, which should be just about how long the cavatelli takes to cook.

Do not drain the cavatelli too thoroughly. The water clinging to the pasta will give the sauce body. Add it to the butter sauce along with the sausage and stir.

Add the cheese, stir again, and portion the cavatelli among several serving plates. Scatter each with a couple of pinches of parsley. Serve immediately.

Editor’s note: Care to try your hand at making cavatelli from scratch? Pick up a hand-cranked cavatelli maker at Fante’s Kitchen Shop (1006 S. 9th St.) for $39.99. The Frankies Spuntino recipe is very similar to the one that comes with the machine

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