The truth about fall is this: it is my favorite season to cook in. I think that generally speaking (although I could be wrong), summer is usually a favorite for a lot of people, what with all the fresh fruits and the tomatoes. But I am not a fruit and especially not a tomato person. I love the homemade ice creams, and I’m always happy to have chicken marinating in the fridge ready for the grill; but the food of summer isn’t magic to me like the food of fall is.
In fall we get to start eating heartier. We get squash, and creamy pasta dishes, and warm muffins, and my favorite pie. We get to start thinking about what we’ll make for Thanksgiving and then Christmas, which I am perfectly happy to spend one to two months doing. In fall we get pot roasts and soups and meals that don’t just feed you; they warm you, body and soul.
My fall cooking and baking list is really much longer than I have time for, because even if we get to extend it into winter (which is really a lot of the same favorite foods), by the time March rolls around I think I will have much more I wish I had had time and energy for and it will all have to be saved for the next year.
But even with an ever increasing “new” recipe list, I have so many fall/winter favorites that I return to again and again. Pasta with sausage and tuscan beans is one of them. It is creamy and comforting with a bit of spice from the sausage. It is a hearty one-dish meal that I love on fall evenings when the temperature is just starting to dip. And sure, you could probably make this in the spring and summer and it would be perfectly good, but sometimes it’s nice to have dishes that we save for certain season.
I added a couple of things to this recipe that I thought it needed: garlic, white wine, Parmesan cheese; which, in my opinion, were great improvements. This dish is rich without feeling heavy–comfort in a bowl. Also–not sure what to do with the rest of your mascarpone cheese? Try these danishes–one of my favorite breakfast treats.
- 1 lb. small shaped pasta (shells, orechiette, etc.)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 lb. turkey or chicken sausage, casing removed
- 1 medium sized shallot, peeled and diced
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 (15 oz.) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese (about 4 oz.)
- Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (plus more for serving)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions, until al dente. Drain the pasta, but reserve 1 cup of the pasta water (or make the sauce while the pasta cooks and ladle out a cup of water as you need it).
- While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and shallot and cook until the sausage is browned and cooked through (about 5-10 minutes), using a spoon or spatula to break up the sausage into small pieces as it cooks and to stir it together with the shallot.
- Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute, stirring. Then add the beans and oregano and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring frequently. Add the white wine and use a spoon to scrape any brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Cook until the wine is almost completely evaporated. Then add about 1/2 cup of the pasta water (more if your sauce seems like it needs it) and the mascarpone and cook, stirring and cooking until it slightly thickens into a sauce. Add and pinch of salt and pepper.
- Add the pasta and the Parmesan, and stir until all the pasta is coated in the sauce. Serve immediately, with more cheese on top if you'd like
adapted from Giada di Laurentiis