Saturday, December 13, 2008

Frankies Spuntino's Cavatelli with Brown Butter, Sage, and Faicco's Hot Sausage

Frank Bruni outed our favorite restaurant last week in the New York Times. It was hard enough to get into Frankies Spuntino before the article. Now, good luck!

Still, I urge you to go to the restaurant. I urge you to put your name in (they won't take reservations, and won't take your name over the phone—they have to "see the whites of your eyes," they once told us), grab a drink at the cheap bar down the block, and bide your time until you can order this pasta. Go ahead and order the antipasto plate with its delicately sliced prosciutto and lovely roasted vegetables, but don't skip this cavatelli. It's hot and spicy and rich, perfectly al dente. We devoured it (for the umpteenth time) the night we got engaged, late after calling our families to spread the news and tipsy with champagne and the sparkle of Matt's great-grandmother's ring. But it's really great on an ordinary day, too.

Today, walking around in the cold winter sun after a stop at the Strand, I steered myself westward. Faicco's pork store, where Frankies gets its sausage, is a worthy destination. Even if its 28 degrees out. Not only do they make terrific sausage, but they sell a variety of fresh and cured meats as well as imported canned goods and pasta. I picked up a braciole (pre-rolled!) for Sunday Ragu along with the craveable spicy sausage. I harvested the last of our sage, though we could have added more, since the sage loses its bitterness in the sauce and really is an essential flavor in the dish.

The elements of the recipe are simple: short, stubby cavatelli (ideally fresh, though I substituted another short dried pasta), brown butter, sage, and sausage. A little garlic. The sausage infuses the sauce with savory heat. I'll continue to tweak when I try this again, but here's the gist:

Cavatelli with Brown Butter, Sage, and Hot Sausage
Inspired by Frankies Spuntino (if only they would give me their recipe!)
Serves Two

1/2 pound cavatelli or short pasta
3 links hot sausage (I heartily recommend Faicco's if you're in New York.)
3-4 T butter
1 cup sage leaves. Don't be stingy.
3 cloves garlic, chopped
parmesan, salt, pepper for serving

Bring water to a boil. Brown sausage, whole, until mostly cooked. Remove from pan and slice into coins. Cook pasta according to package directions—do NOT over cook, pasta should be quite al dente. Meanwhile, add butter to the pan, cook over moderate heat about 5 minutes until beginning to color. I may have stopped too early, this should get quite nutty. But do not burn! Add sage leaves and garlic, cook for a minute to infuse flavors. Return sausage to pan, toss. When pasta is cooked, drain and add (along with a few tablespoons of pasta water), cook for a minute over low heat, stirring. Add salt and pepper to taste, serve with parmesan and red wine.


Heather said...

ohhh... you had me at hot sausage. and brown butter... mmm... looks delicious!

We Are Never Full said...

oh man... he did it. he outed frankies! you're totally right that there will be a major influx of customers. hey, just don't forget the "little people"! i just hope that quality doesn't suffer if they get too big.

this dish is awesome and the recipe looks fabulous. love that you used cavatelli.

cook eat FRET said...

this is SO MY THING

there are no words

Laura Lutz said...

Incredible. This recipe is getting filed away in my to-make pile. You guys have done it again.

Esi said...

I already ate dinner and this is making me hungry again. Omg, there is so much good stuff in here!

Joanna said...

Okay, first of all, this looks deeeelicious. I would never have thought to combine sausage with brown butter but it sounds amazing! Second, if you're already going to Faicco's and you want fresh cavatelli, there's a small store called Raffetto's on Houston between Sullivan and MacDougal that makes incredible fresh pasta. Highly recommended!

maggie said...

Joanna: Thank you! I will certainly check out Raffetto's—sounds great!

kickpleat said...

looks so good! this looks like the perfect meal during all this cold weather.

lisa said...

This looks so great--I'm hungry now!

Lisa said...

I looove Frankie's too. One of my favorite places in Brooklyn. Luckily they are expanding their Brooklyn restaurant so more people can get in! So sweet that you got engaged there.

laila said...

I came across your post while (unsuccessfully) trying to find a recipe for Frankie's hot pine nut polenta. I have a recipe for cavatelli from Frankies--I don't remember where I found it, but I made it a few weeks ago, and it's yummy!


3 links Italian sausage
3 small zucchini
3 cloves minced garlic
1 pound fresh cavatelli
12 sage leaves, cut into thin ribbons
6 tablespoons butter
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper

Put water on to boil for the cavatelli. Cook sausages in a covered pan with 1/2 inch water until cooked through, about ten minutes. Cut each sausage in half lengthwise, then slice into 1/2-inch-thick half-moons. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise, then slice into 1/2-inch-thick half-moons. Brown sausage in olive oil, remove from the pan. Brown the zucchini, cooking at fairly high heat so it takes on color but doesn't get mushy. Remove zucchini from the pan. Boil the cavatelli. Meanwhile, add butter to the pan and cool until it begins to brown and smell nutty (take care not to burn it!) Add garlic, sage, and red pepper flakes and stir about thirty seconds. Add sausage and zucchini back to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and mix in the cooked cavatelli. Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese.