Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pasta with green beans and sausage gravy

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I got some beautiful green beans at the market last week. They were slender and delicate and I couldn't wait to eat them. The only problem was that I couldn't decide what to make...green beans tend to always be a side dish in my house and I really wanted to make a main dish. Curry or stir fry? Nah, as usual I didn't want to rely on an old standby - I wanted to try something new! I poked around at recipes online for a while and starting thinking about combining the beans with pasta and a creamy sauce. I remembered that I had some sausage in the fridge, and then suddenly I had the perfect idea...sausage gravy! For those of you that are unfamiliar, sausage gravy is basically just a standard white sauce using fat from sausage instead of butter. The great thing about it is that the sausage adds so much flavor that you don't really have to worry about additional spices, cheese, or anything like that. Sausage gravy is usually served with biscuits, but I had a feeling that it would make a great pasta sauce, and it certainly did! I was pretty thrilled with how this came out - the green beans and a sprinkling of parsley added nice freshness and color, and it was a simple, flavorful, and filling dinner. If you're on the east coast and are looking for some comfort food to eat when hurricane Irene hits, you should definitely give this a try!

Pasta with green beans and sausage gravy
Serves 3-4

I loved the green beans in the dish, but I think broccoli, spinach, or peas would be great too if you prefer one of those.

3/4 pound green beans, trimmed and halved if they are very long
1/2 pound Italian sausage, casings removed
1/2 pound pasta (short shapes are good - I used gemelli)
3 tbs all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
Several sprigs of parsley, leaves chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add green beans and boil for 4 minutes, then remove beans with a slotted spoon (do not drain pot) and immediately transfer to a bowl of ice water or run under cold water until no longer warm. Bring the cooking water back to a boil and add pasta. Cook until pasta is al dente, then drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking water.

While pasta cooks, crumble sausage into a large pan over medium heat. Cook sausage, breaking up clumps, until fat is rendered and sausage is no longer pink. If the fat in the pan looks excessive to you at this point, you can remove a bit. Add flour and stir until flour is well blended into the meat and fat. Add milk and cook 3-4 minutes until sauce is thickened to your liking. Toss pasta and green beans with sausage sauce and season to taste with salt and pepper. Use pasta water to loosen the consistency of the sauce if necessary. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.

1 comment:

  1. This looks really interesting. My husband and my brother LOVE sausage gravy, but it's something I usually only make at the holidays. This variation looks like a nice change.

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