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Orecchiette with Sausage and Rapini & Creamy Wild Mushroom Ragu


Orecchiette with Sausage and Rapini       

1lb  Orecchiette "little ears" pasta, fresh    
2  Tbsp extra virgin olive oil    
2  tsp garlic, slices    
1/4  tsp chile flakes    
1lb  Italian sausage, removed from casing    
1/2  lb rapini/broccoli rabe, blanched and cut into small bite sized pieces     
4 oz.  pecorino cheese, grated    

In a saute pan, heat olive oil over medium-hi heat.      
Add sausage and cook until brown, breaking up sausage into small bite sized pieces   
Add garlic and chile flakes and cook until soft, add rapini and saute for 1 minute   
Meanwhile, bring 6 qts water to a boil and add 2 tsp salt    
Cook orecchiette until al dente    
Drain pasta reserving 3 oz pasta water    
Add cooked pasta and reserved pasta water to pan with sausage and rapini, toss and cook for 30 seconds more
Add pecorino and toss again    
Divide into 4 bowls and serve with extra pecorino and chile flakes if you like   
Creamy Wild Mushroom Ragu    

1/4 cup  extra virgin olive oil    
1/2 cup  dried porcini mushrooms rehydrated in 1 cup hot water    
4 oz   shiitake mushrooms, trimmed and halved    
4 oz   oyster mushrooms, trimmed    
4 oz   crimini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced    
1/2 cup  shallots, julienne    
2 Tbsp   garlic, chopped    
1 Tbsp   thyme leaves, fresh    
1/2 cup  brandy    
 heavy cream    
 salt and pepper to taste     

Strain porcini mushrooms from water, and reserve mushrooms and "tea" separately   
Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat    
Add shallots and garlic, and cook, stirring often, until soft    
Add  all mushrooms and thyme and toss to coat, adding more oil if necessary   
Continue to cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms are soft    
Add brandy, carefully ignite, let the flames die out and reduce by half   
Add porcini "tea" and reduce by 3/4    
Add cream and simmer until thick    
Season again with salt and pepper if needed    
Toss mushroom ragu with pasta, stir into risotto, use as crostini topping, or serve with any grilled meat 

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