Pasta and grapes may sound like a strange combination, but the flavors here are delicious together: the savory sausage, sweet grapes, sage, and a touch of vinegar make for a dish that's quite rich and complex.
Note: Use small and sweet seedless grapes, not the seedless Thompson variety or seeded Concords. You can use sweet Italian sausage, or half-sweet, half-spicy.
Recipe adapted from Urban Italian by Andrew Carmellini
- 1 cup seedless red grapes
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 lbs Italian sausage (about 4 links)
- 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 10 sage leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 lb strozzapreti pasta
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese (about 1 ounce), plus more for serving
- 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley
Cut the grapes in half lengthwise. Combine the grapes, wine, sugar, and vinegar and put in a covered container in the fridge overnight (at least 8 hours).
In a medium saucepot, bring the grape mixture to a boil over high heat. Cook at a boil until the liquid has reduced by half, about 10 minutes, then remove from heat.
Cut the sausage casings open and remove the meat. Discard casings. Put a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat until shimmering. Add the meat and brown, stirring and breaking up the meat as you go, about 5 minutes.
When the meat has begun to brown, add the onion and continue cooking, stirring well, until sausage is well browned and onions have softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the sage leaves and stir to combine. Add the grape mixture and stir well.
When the water comes to a boil, cook the pasta until just al dente (subtract one minute from the directions on the package). Drain but do not rinse, reserving a few tablespoons of pasta water. Add the pasta to the sausage mixture and stir for 1 minute, adding a tablespoon of pasta water at a time to just moisten. Turn the heat off, add butter, cheese, and black pepper, stirring well. Add the parsley and serve immediately, topped with additional cheese.