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Orecchiette with Sardinian Sausage Ragu
Saffron gives this simple Sardinian ragu lots of character. The spice’s unique, vaguely floral, slightly minerally flavor pairs beautifully with the sausage, tomatoes and salty pecorino, but since saffron is a somewhat rarified ingredient, we’ve kept it optional. Even without, the dish is delicious. Our favorite pasta for this recipe is orecchiette, a coin-sized, saucer-shaped noodle that does an excellent job of catching the bits of sausage. Small shells and campanelle work well, too. If you can find pecorino Sardo, a sheep's milk cheese from Sardinia, use it in place of pecorino Romano; it has a milder, slightly smoky flavor and adds complexity to the dish.
medium garlic cloves, chopped
01In a 12-inch skillet over medium, combine the oil and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the garlic is golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the wine and saffron, then cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by about half, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the tomato puree, sausage and 1½ teaspoons salt. Bring to a simmer, cover and reduce to medium-low. Cook, stirring once or twice, until the pieces of sausage are no longer pink at the center, 5 to 7 minutes.
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