Cold weather has made its way to Canada, and winter has definitely started early this year.
With its warm yellow tones imparted by the saffron, the richness of the sausage and the cream, there is nothing like this simple and quick pasta dish to warm your soul and satisfy your taste buds. Measuring saffron is always a bit tricky. What I call a pinch might be a bit more, actually. Decide by yourself how much you want to put in. The combination of saffron with Italian sausages is well known and quite savoury. That, along with the sweetness of the leeks, makes for a perfect pasta dish.
Rigatoni with leek, sausage, saffron and cream
Ingredients (for 4 people)
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive
2 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, cleaned and finely sliced
1/2 cup whole milk
1 or 2 italian sausages, casing removed and broken up into small pieces
one pinch saffron
1/2 cup heavy cream
450 g rigatoni
salt and pepper to taste
1. Put the saffron in a small bowl and pour 2 tablespoons of boiling water. Let steep for 20 minutes.
2. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-low heat and cook the leeks until soft and translucent but not coloured, 7 to 9 minutes.
3. Add the milk to the leeks and continue to cook, stirring continuously until everything holds together, a bit like a purée. Transfer to a dish and reserve.
4. In the same skillet, add the olive oil and cook the sausage thoroughly. Add the leeks back in the skillet and combine. Add the cream, the saffron, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat off.
5. Prepare the pasta according to the instructions on the package and drain, reserving half a cup of pasta cooking water.
6. Bring the sauce back to temperature over medium heat and transfer the cooked pasta in the sauce, adding a bit of pasta cooking water to loosen the sauce (you may not need all of it). Continue to cook for 30 seconds or until everything is combined. Turn the heat off and add as much cheese as you like. Serve in warm bowls.