Rigatoni with Merguez, Ricotta Salata, and Brown Butter

2014-11-29
  • Yield : 4 servings
  • Cook Time : 45m
  • Ready In : 15m
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Ingredients

  • 1 pound ziti or other tube-shaped pasta
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 1 pound merguez sausage (see Chef Talk, below), casings removed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded ricotta salata cheese
  • 1/2 cup Sicilian Bread Crumbs (see below) or pan-toasted soft bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 3 cups cubed (1-inch) trimmed brioche, challah, or crusty Italian bread
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Method

Step 1

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain well and rinse under cold running water.

Step 2

2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Continue cooking until the milk solids in the saucepan turn hazelnut brown, about 2 minutes. Immediately pour the melted butter into a small bowl.

Step 3

3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a very large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, occasionally stirring and breaking it up with the side of the spoon into bite-sized pieces, until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until it softens, about 1 minute. Stir in the tomato paste and parsley and mix well. Pour into a colander to drain the excess fat. Clean the skillet.

Step 4

4. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the sausage mixture and stir well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Step 5

5. Transfer the pasta mixture to a serving bowl. Add the browned butter and mix well. Top with the ricotta salata, Sicilian Bread Crumbs, and mint. Drizzle with additional olive oil, toss, and serve immediately.

Step 6

1. To make the bread crumbs: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. With the machine running, drop the garlic through the tube of a food processor to mince the garlic. Add the bread cubes, oil, and parsley and pulse until the bread becomes coarse crumbs. Spread on an 18-by-13-inch half-sheet pan. Bake, stirring occasionally, until the crumbs are lightly toasted and smell garlicky, 7 to 10 minutes. Let cool. Makes 2 cups. Measure out 1 cup of the bread crumbs. (Reserve the remaining bread crumbs for another use; they can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 1 month.)

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