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Author Notes: A simple spring dish, whipped together in half an hour, this pasta gets a meaty kick from the sausage, and a mellow sweetness from sauteed ramps. Feel free to use young leeks if you can't find ramps. —Merrill Stubbs
tablespoons olive oil
pounds hot Italian sausage, bulk or removed from casings
pound ramps (you can use young leeks if you don't have access to ramps), cleaned and trimmed of roots
pound orecchiette or other short pasta
- Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and brown for about 5 minutes, breaking it up with a spoon as it cooks.
- Meanwhile, slice the bulb end (white parts) of the ramps finely and roughly chop the leaves, keeping the two separate. Add the bulbs to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes, until they soften and start to brown. Add the leaves and cook for another minute, until just wilted. Turn off the heat and set aside (you can hold this for up to an hour, reheating before you add the pasta).
- Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until just al dente, following the package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta well. Add it to the sausage and ramps over medium heat. Stir through, adding some of the cooking liquid if the pasta looks dry. Serve immediately.