Sausage, chard and pine nut rigatoni

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I was in an interesting situation in a restaurant last week and the more I think about it, the more I think that I didn’t react appropriately.  Kinda like when you think of a comeback to an insult a day after it happens.

Here goes the story…my friend Jill and I went to quite a well-known one-hatted french restaurant in Melbourne last week and as we were deep in conversation after we finished our mains, out of the corner of my eye, I saw something scurry along the floor….you know where I’m going with this don’t you.  Given the restaurant we were in I decided that it couldn’t have been what I thought it was and it must have just been a shadow moving; is what I tried to convince myself.

And then there was commotion.  It was exactly what I initially thought it was.  A dirty little mouse.  To be honest, it was a little bit (read: a lot) hilarious watching the patrons, watching the embarrassed owner trying to direct the mouse out the front door with his french accent. Oh mon dieu!

So you think Jill and my’s next move would have been to throw our hands up in disgust and lecture the owner on what kind of filthy establishment he was running and refuse to pay the bill and storm theatrically out of the restaurant.

I don’t know if it was a little bit of shock or we just refuse to believe we just saw what we did, or was it the fact the restaurant was in fact spotless and the view I had into the kitchen showed an equally clean kitchen…but our next move was to order the dessert…yep we decided to play russian roulette with the pest infested restaurant and see if we could dodge another bullet with the dessert.

Now you would imagine that the owner would have been mortified at the preceding events and would have at least comped our dessert or even our drinks, one drink?…but nothing…he just continued the evening like nothing happened.  I guess he assumed that if we ordered dessert after seeing the mouse then we clearly have no problem eating in a filth bucket.

What would you have done?

Now there is no segway from this story into today’s recipe…no it’s not made from mouse.  It’s just damn delicious.  I made it last week and the Dr is still talking about it, planning when I’m going to make it again this week.  Make it, it’s good…really really good.

Sausage, chard and pine nut rigatoni

Serves 2

What you need:

  • 250 g rigatoni or you could use penne
  • 1/2 bunch of chard, stems removed and leaves sliced
  • 3 italian or pork and fennel sausages
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 wineglass of wine
  • good handful of grated parmesan reggiano
  • small knob of butter
  • salt & pepper

What to do:

Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and cook the rigatoni according to instructions.  Reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta water when you drain the pasta to use for the sauce.

While the pasta is cooking heat a pan on medium heat and toast the pine nuts until lightly golden.  Take them out of the pan and set aside.  Wipe the pan with a paper towel to clean remnants from pine nuts

Heat a small splash of olive oil and squeeze the sausage meat out of their skins into the pan and with a wooden spoon break them up into small pieces.  Cook until the sausage meat has browned.

Add the oregano, stir for a minute and then add the white wine and cook until half has evaporated.

Add the chard and cook until wilted and then add the pine nuts. The pasta should be done by now.  Drain it and throw it into the pan, stir through sausage and chard.  Add the butter and parmesan.  Stir through and then add a splash of the pasta water and stir through.  This will mix with the parmesan and butter to create a silky sauce.  If you need more moisture just add more of the water.  Taste and season with salt & pepper if necessary.

Serve with extra parmesan to sprinkle over the top.

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  • Hello Julia,
    I am so glad that I found your blog. That one delicious looking pasta. I briefly browsed through your posts and I know, I will be back often to check your recipes. Let’s stay connected. I blog at Spices and Aroma.

    • Hi Vijitha, Thanks for visiting, I’m sure you will love this when you cook it. I will come and check out Spices and Aroma, it sounds delicious!

  • A mouse…oh my! I’m not sure what I would have done, but I probably would have written a strong-worded letter to management later…maybe. I love this pasta dish – it sounds so comforting and love the inclusion of chard with pine nuts… I’m featuring this post as part of Food Fetish Friday (with a link-back and attribution) and thanks for making me drool!

  • The Joyful Table

    Really hilarious story! I would have been on top of my table! Still nibbling of course! And maybe dessert to go! This pasta recipe sounds like a fantastic combo, can’t wait to try.

  • Dr COD

    Looks delicious so I am cooking tonight especially since your Dr was so impressed!

    • Enjoy, it’s a good one!

  • Letti

    YUM! I have a similar recipe (rigatoni, spinach, mushrooms, feta cheese).. Everything is the same, the only difference is instead of meat I use mushrooms and instead of butter+parmesan I use feta cheese.. (and oregano+pepper on the mush just before the wine) Oh and now, after reading this, I started using pine nuts, as well! It’s a nice addition and it’s delicious! (note: no need for salt because feta + feta’s brine is already salty enough, for me at least!)