Sunday, June 13, 2010

Spring Orecchiette with Apples and Chicken Sausage

Enough talking about how great other people's cooking is! This evening, I'm going to boast about my favorite chef in DC - myself.

My weekly trips to the Dupont Circle Farmers Market end up in a potpourri of unintentional items in my refrigerator, purchased because each item looks appetizing in and of itself - not necessarily because combined they make a thoughtful or strategic meal.

The other night when I came home I really wanted something hearty and filling - but good for me. In the fridge sat some fresh leeks from the farmers market. I remember thinking when I bought them, "I should be able to do something with this. I mean, if Rachel Ray can cook with leeks, I should be able to kick ass at them. Annoying Rachel Ray....'yummo'."

Other purchases made on my hippie-like trek to farmers market last weekend were golden delicious apples, smoked gouda and thyme. I also had purchased at the local grocery store a nice bottle of white wine and pre-cooked chicken andouille sausage. I knew whatever I did, I had to eat the apples (one more day and they would have gone bad), and to heck if I'm going to let golden delicious apples go to waste.

I grabbed the orecchiette in the cupboard (a type of shell shaped pasta) and figured I could whip something up with these ingredients (and I'm making the apples work if it kills me). However, it was much easier than I thought and it turned out to be absolutely delicious, creative, and a taste explosion thought provided me with much delight.

Here's the recipe. I know the apples are freaking you out too, but trust me, it works...


2 Golden delicious apples
4 Chicken andouille sausages (pre-cooked is best)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups orecchiette pasta (or any pasta of your choice)
3 leeks
3 ounces smoke gouda
salt and pepper to taste
4 sprigs of fresh thyme (or dried thyme if you can't get it fresh)

1. Fill a large pot with water, salt and a touch of olive oil and set to boil.
2. While waiting for water to boil, do all of your prep work: a) chop up the apples into 1/2 inch cubes; b) chop up sausages into 1/4 inch slices (just get the pre-cooked ones from the store), c) chop up the leeks into small slices.
3. Once water is boiling, add your pasta and just keep an eye on it until al dente. Once pasta is cooked, drain and set aside until the 2nd dish is ready.
3. Grab a skillet and place it on medium high heat with a few tablespoons of olive oil to warm. Throw in the leeks and season with salt and pepper. Cook on medium for a few minutes until they turn translucent.
4. Add the apples, white wine and sausages and cook on medium for 5 minutes until apples are cooked, but haven't hit the mooshy stage (don't ever overcook them to the moosh stage - ew!)
5. Add drained pasta, a little olive oil, salt and pepper and mix in the skillet on medium heat.
6. Turn stove to medium-low and add thin slices of smoked gouda and minced fresh thyme. Let the cheese melt as you stir it constantly, creating a creamy gouda/wine concoction that is indescribable.

This meal will take you no more than 20 minutes to make (if you multi task by cooking the pasta as you cook the other items).

Um. Deliciousness! Try this recipe at home. It really is a fresh and complex tasting meal - if the apples freak you out, use orange or yellow bell peppers instead (but it won't be as good).

You are welcome world.

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