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One Dish Pastas: One with Spaghetti and Tomatoes, One with Orecchiette, Chicken Sausage and Arugula

Last summer, in the course of one week, I saw three recipes posted for an identical dish.  Authored by Martha Stewart, it involved putting the entire contents of a pasta dinner into one pot and firing the stove up to create a meal that was only missing its Parmigiano Cheese which was added once the pasta went into bowls.  We don’t eat a lot of pasta in the summer and when summer tomatoes are as good as ours are on Long Island, the grape or cherry tomatoes called for here just don’t cut it.  But when the last of the Romas and Beefsteaks disappear, nothing is more welcome than the see-through clamshells filled with perfectly ripe, sweet little tomatoes. There are plenty of varieties to choose from. Even small heirlooms are in the mix.  So one night last week, I went on a search for the recipe. Lo and behold, there was Martha Stewart herself, on video, making the dish while assuring us that it was the viral sensation on the internet I’d witnessed last summer.  So off I went and made it myself.  The results were intriguing to say the least.        

     Andrew said it first, after dipping into the bowl of this miracle pasta: It doesn’t seem possible that it would be any good.   It is completely counter-intuitive. You’ve spent the last however-many-years laboring over pasta sauces in one pot, noodles in another. The cooking is followed by that moment of prayer that somehow the sauce will blend with the pasta, coating it with flavor.   Not with this recipe. The deep straight-sided skillet looks beautiful with the entire contents of your dinner arrayed before you.  The water is added, brought to a boil and you begin stirring, melding the ingredients together and what finally emerges is pasta complete with tomato-y, onion-y, garlic-y sauce with a kick of red pepper.  Spooned into bowls, topped with parmigiano, it becomes the definition of a one dish dinner.  It’s one that every college student living off campus and every first apartment dweller should be sent by their parents.   It is that easy and that good.  In fact it was such a revelation that I could hardly wait to see if I could make another pasta favorite the same way.  And could I ever.

Days after my first foray into One Dish Pasta, I was keen on creating a dish featuring one of my favorite of all pastas. Orecchiette means ‘little ear’ in Italian.  If you make your own, you would use your thumb to create the little bowl that characterizes the pasta.  The advantage of their shape is that these bowls are excellent for catching the sauce in so, unlike spaghetti or fettucine, they actually hold the sauce rather than just being coated with it.  The recipe varies from the first One Dish Pasta in that the sausage and onion is cooked in the dish for about 15 minutes before the Orechiette is added.  The cooking liquid is not water this time, it’s chicken stock and it’s added in as needed.  Finally, once the pasta is cooked, the arugula is mixed in and wilts into the mixture.  I chose to add Burrata to the finished pasta bowls.  This may be too rich for your recent college grad, but if he or she wants to impress, this meltingly creamy cheese will do the trick. If budgetary concerns overrule the Burrata, a handful of Parmigiano will stand in perfectly well.  Here are the recipes:

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