So you’ve decided to become a weekday vegetarian: Congratulations! But the rest of your family is just…not onboard yet. How do you stay the course without becoming a short-order cook on overdrive? The answer: Meet Them Where They Are. Dialing back on meat is a process, and if the goal here is reducing as opposed to eliminating, then wear that hat when you are making some non-veg family favorites. We had dinner with some friends last week who said they are “trying to do the weekday vegetarian thing,” but it’s been hard, especially because one of their kids who, when served spaghetti, will ask “Where are the meatballs?” Presenting: Orecchiette with Peas, Beans and OK a Little Sausage. It calls for only six ounces of sausage for four servings, which actually ends up being enough because catcher’s-mitt-shaped orecchiette excels at trapping the little bits in each bite. And even those little bites of sausage have so much flavor that I really don’t feel like the sacrifice is too huge.
Related: Bean Burritos with or without Chorizo is another good recipe for cooks constantly dealing with a hold-out at the table.
Orecchiette with Peas, Beans and A Tiny Bit of Sausage
(Also a Reel)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound orecchiette
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
6 ounces sweet Italian sausage
1 14-ounce can (or 1 1/2 cups) cooked white beans (such as cannellini, Great Northern)
dash red pepper flakes (depending on the spiciness of sausage, you can omit)
1 cup frozen peas (they do not have to be thawed)
1/2 cup pecorino, for serving
mint or basil, for serving
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook orecchiette according to package directions. Reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water then drain the pasta into a colander, tossing in 1 tablespoon of olive oil to prevent sticking. Place pot back on the burner over medium heat.
Add remaining oil to the pot, then add sausage and red pepper flakes (if using) breaking up the meat with a fork. Once it’s cooked, stir in beans, peas, pasta, and half the pecorino, drizzling in about a tablespoon of pasta water at a time until the pasta looks shiny and saucy.
Serve with remaining pecorino, a drizzle of olive oil, herbs, and freshly ground black pepper.
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