Pasta with sausage, bitter greens, and mascarpone

This delightful and quick recipe is courtesy of my son, Benjamin. You want a short pasta for this such as orchiette, cavatelli, rotini, or penne rigate. For the bitter greens you have lots of choices – arugula, radish greens, mustard greens, and in fact a mix is nice. This serves 4 and makes excellent leftovers.

4 links mild Italian sausage, casings removed (about 1 lb)
1/2 c diced onion
1 lb pasta as described above
8 oz greens, torn up if needed, washed and shaken dry, setting a cup or so aside for garnish if desired.
1 c mascarpone cheese
1 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the pasta “al dente” per package directions. Drain  (keep hot) and reserve some of the cooking water.

While the pasta is cooking, use a wide skillet to saute the sausage and onions in a little bit of olive oil, crumbling the sausage, until cooked through and just starting to brown. If the sausage has rendered more fat than you want, remove it (the fat, not the sausage! See note below). Add the oregano and greens and cook for another couple of minutes. Add a cup of the reserved pasta water and cook, stirring, for another minute. Add pasta and marscapone, stirring so the cheese blends in to form a light sauce. Salt and pepper to taste. Put in individual serving bowls and, if  desired, garnish with the reserved uncooked greens.

Note: A quick way to remove excess fat from a skillet is to push to food to one side and tip the pan so the fat collects opposite the food. Ball up a napkin or paper towel, hold it with tongs or chopsticks, and use it to soak up the excess fat.

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