Rigatoni with Spicy Turkey Sausage, Pistachios, and Zucchini
Here’s what I used:
- 12 oz rigatoni (I prefer De Cecco)
- 1 pound hot turkey sausage, removed from casings*
- 4 medium zucchini
- 1 cup pistachios, toasted
- Olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- Parmigiano Reggiano
- Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
- Crushed red pepper flakes
Here’s what I did:
- Put a large pot of water on to boil.
- Place pistachios in coffee or spice grinder and pulse a few times until broken up (but not to a fine powder – you want to have some texture still)
- Thinly slice the zucchini, using a mandoline if you have one.
- Place zucchini in a colander in the sink. Sprinkle with a little salt and allow the moisture to drain out of the zucchini while you cook the sausage.
- Heat a couple of teaspoons of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat
- Remove the casing from the sausages and break into little nuggets. Add to the saute pan and cook until browned on all sides and cooked almost through, about 7-8 minutes. (Optional – In the past I have added additional red pepper, S & P or fennel seeds to the sausage, just to spice it up some more.)
- Remove sausage from pan to a paper-towel lined plate.
- Heat a couple of pats of butter and a couple of teaspoons of olive oil in the sausage pan. Rinse salt off of the zucchini and add to the pan with a couple of pinches of red pepper flakes. Cook for about 10 minutes or until zucchini is tender and lightly browned. When zucchini is almost cooked, add sausage back to pan and cook for another couple of minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions, draining one minute shy of recommended time. Reserve 1 cup of starchy pasta water before draining.
- Depending on which pan is bigger, add the zucchini mixture to the pasta or vice versa. Cook together for a minute or two. Add as much pasta water as you like to create a little sauce.
- Add pistachios and grate some parmigiano reggiano cheese on top. Taste for seasoning.
*Sausage can totally be omitted for a nice vegetarian option. I would definitely sprinkle some pulsed up fennel seeds and extra red pepper flakes on the the zucchini as it cooks, if omitting the sausage.