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Here’s another money-saving pasta meal using escarole with a gourmet hint.
A Meal That’s Budget Friendly
In these trying times, who isn’t looking for a meal that’s easy on the wallet?
Under normal circumstances, I think we’re all pretty much food-budget savvy but now it’s become an issue that’s of tantamount importance. Most of us realize that beans, rice and pasta fit nicely into this budget niche. However the type of meals made from these ingredients don’t provoke much enthusiasm. Of course there are some–one of my favorites being Jamaican Coconut Rice–but usually this isn’t the case.
This recipe actually will get your taste buds going. It’s main source of protein is the beans and the pasta, but it contains just enough sausage to jazz up the flavor.
OK, this might be one item that isn’t in your usual repertoire. Let me tell you–it should be!
Don’t bypass it when you’re in the produce section of your store. It’s one of those greens that wears many hats so there’s lots of ways you could be using escarole in your meal planning.
If you’ve ever had Italian wedding soup, it’s one of the main ingredients. After you’ve eaten it cooked, you’ll be using escarole often.
It’s also good as is. Instead of buying your usual lettuce, use it as a salad green. Let it replace lettuce in your salads and sandwiches. It’s got body and a great flavor.
Don’t Toss The Water
When you cook the rigatoni, don’t throw the water away! Pasta water is a part of this dish that makes the sauce what it is.
When you cook the pasta, cook it for a few minutes less than the package states. That’s because it is cooked again in the skillet. You also want a bit of bite too it as well.
So when the pasta is done as the recipe states, remove it to the skillet using a slotted spoon so you preserve the cooking water.
Rigatoni with Sausage and Escarole
- 3 tbs olive oil
- 1/2 tsp rosemary
- 8 ounces Italian sausage casings removed
- 15 oz can chickpeas rinsed, patted dry
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 12 oz rigatoni cooked about 2 minutes less than per package directions, reserve pasta water
- Kosher salt
- 8 cups lightly packed torn escarole
- ¾ cup finely grated Parmesan divided
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbs unsalted butter
- Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high. Fry rosemary, until fragrant. Discard.
- Add sausage to same pot and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon and stirring occasionally, until browned and cooked through, 8–10 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate.
- Add chickpeas to pot and cook, tossing occasionally and mashing some chickpeas with spoon, until browned in spots, about 5 minutes. Transfer about half of chickpeas to plate with sausage. Add wine to pot, bring to a boil, and cook until liquid is almost completely evaporated, about 2 minutes.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the rigatoni (don't discard the water). Add pasta to pot with chickpeas and add escarole and 1 cup pasta cooking liquid. Cook, tossing often, until escarole is wilted, pasta is al dente, and sauce is thickened, about 4 minutes. Add another ¼ cup pasta cooking liquid, then gradually add ½ cup cheese, tossing until melted and dissolved into a luxurious, glossy sauce. Thin with more pasta cooking liquid if needed. Season with pepper, and more salt if needed. Add butter and toss to combine, then mix in reserved sausage and chickpeas.
- Sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup cheese.