Anyway, I wasn’t old enough and she was too old by then to really share any food or recipe tips. So, her amazing cooking lives on through my dad who happily shared how grandma often stirred peas into her red sauce. With that insight into my dad’s childhood and my grandmother’s life, I felt like my grandma was watching over us when I made this dish. And I think it made her pretty proud; it made me pretty full!
Sausage and Pea Pasta (adapted from Giada de Laurentis)
1 pound fettuccine
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 hot Italian turkey sausage links, casing removed
1 pound frozen peas, thawed
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons white pepper
1 tablespoon dried basil leaves (or Italian Seasoning)
1/4 cup Romano cheese
Heat a large pot of water over high heat until boiled. Add the pasta and let it cook according to package directions. Drain and reserve 1 cup of the cooking water.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil and garlic over medium heat, until fragrant, about 30 – 60 seconds. Add the sausage and break it up into bite-sized pieces. Cook over medium-high heat until the sausage browns, about 5-8 minutes. With a slotted spoon remove the sausage and set aside. Turn the heat down to medium-low and add the peas to the pan. Use the back of a wooden spoon to smash the peas and let simmer for 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add ricotta and cooked pasta, tossing to coat. Add the water in tablespoon additions, if needed to keep the pasta moist. Add the sausage, salt, pepper, basil, and cheese. Stir gently and spoon into 6 bowls. Serve immediately.
Until the next time my oven is on…