Most of the time, Greek food is off my radar. Not by any conscious choice—I'm always on the lookout for new dishes and new ideas—but it became especially clear while flipping through the recent Greece issue of Saveur. As usual, their selected recipes were authentic, varied, and uniformly delicious-sounding. Though some were more involved than others, I was drawn in particular to this simple pasta and sausage dish and its intriguing use of blue cheese as the basis for the sauce.
Pasta and sausage is nothing new—like bacon, the intense flavor of sausage has the ability to season a whole bowl of noodles. But draped in a luxurious sauce of blue cheese, Parmesan, and oregano, it was a revelation: The sour, funky flavor was a perfect foil for the richness of the sausage.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 ounces semi-cured Greek pork sausages, or sweet Italian sausages, cut into 1-inch pieces
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 8 ounces pasta, preferably garganelli or penne
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/2 ounce blue cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh oregano leaves
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
In a large (12-inch) skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, then add the sausage and cook until golden, stirring only occasionally, 7-10 minutes.
In the meantime, bring a large pot of salty water to boil and cook the pasta until al dente. Before draining the pasta, reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
Once the sausages are browned, add the wine and turn the heat to high. Reduce the liquid for 2 minutes, then lower the heat and add the blue cheese, cream, and oregano. Once the cheese is melted, add the pasta along with some of the pasta cooking water as needed to create a creamy, loose sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper, divide among plates, and garnish with Parmesan.