This past winter I made Mark Bittman's Pasta with Chicken and Mushrooms, Risotto Style. I swore after I made it that I would never make plain pasta boiled in water again. The flavor of that dish was intense and incredible, each bite even if only pasta was filled with flavor and the way the sauce stuck to every bit of the dish was wonderful. Of course, I never made pasta this way again. Yes, this technique does take a little more time than just straight up boiling, but the results are worth it.
Then, this spring I found Jamie Oliver's recipe for Pork Sausage Pasta I knew it needed to be made Risotto Style and that is exactly what I did. This recipe is an inspiration from both sources. The sausage makes this dish incredibly rich. If you like it extra spicy use a Hot Italian Sausage.
inspired by Jamie Oliver and Mark Bittman
1 lb coarse italian sausage, without casing
2 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tbsp. oregano
1 shallot or small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 cups crimini, shiitake or button mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and sliced
1 pound dry pasta such as fusilli, or penne
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine or water
Juice from one Lemon
3 to 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Chopped fresh parsley
Freshly grated Parmesan
Place a deep skillet over medium heat, add the sausage when hot, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Once sausage is broken up add fennel, red pepper flakes, and oregano. When sausage is browned add shallot, garlic and mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms soften and begin to brown on edges, about 10 minutes, stir frequently. Add dry pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is glossy and coated with oil, 2 to 3 minutes. Add a little salt and pepper, then wine and lemon juice. Stir and let liquid bubble away.
Ladle stock into skillet 1/2 cup or so at a time, stirring after each addition and every minute or so. When liquid is just about evaporated, add more. Mixture should be neither soupy nor dry. Keep heat at medium and stir frequently.
Begin tasting pasta 15 minutes after you add it; cook to desired tenderness. Taste, adjust seasoning, garnish with Parsley and Parmesan and serve.