Orecchiette literally means, “little ears.” A very fitting noodle for this dish, as this bowl of pasta is like music to ours. Said pasta is cooked to al dente perfection, then tossed with a deliciously savory bolognese. (Psst—this one’s got Italian pork sausage instead of beef for a flavorful twist.) Topped off with a sprinkle of Parmesan and fresh basil, it doesn’t get much better than this. Listen closely: is that a dinner bell?
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Italian Pork Sausage
Chicken Stock Concentrate
Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Wash and dry all produce. Trim, peel, and dice carrot into ¼-inch pieces. Halve, peel, and dice onion. Remove sausage from casing; discard casing.
Once water is boiling, add orecchiette to pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, 13-15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large, preferably tall-sided, pan over mediumhigh heat. Add carrot and onion. Cook, stirring, until softened, 6-8 minutes. Add Italian Seasoning and season with salt and pepper. Meanwhile, dice tomato. Pick basil leaves from stems; roughly chop leaves and discard stems.
Push carrot and onion to one side of pan. (TIP: Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to set veggies aside in a small bowl.) Add sausage to empty side (and a drizzle of olive oil if pan seems dry). Cook sausage, breaking up meat into pieces, until browned and cooked through, 4-6 minutes. (TIP: Carefully pour out any excess grease in pan.) Add tomato (return veggies to pan now if set aside); cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Add tomato paste and stir until well combined, 30-60 seconds. Stir in 1 cup water (1½ cups for 4 servings) and stock concentrate. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer. Add drained orecchiette; cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened, 3-5 minutes. Reduce heat to low.
Stir in 1 TBSP butter (2 TBSP for 4 servings), half the Parmesan, and half the basil. Season with salt and pepper. Divide pasta between bowls. Top with remaining Parmesan and basil.