Thursday, March 5, 2009

Dinner from the Pantry: Orzo with Garlicky White Beans and Chicken Sausage

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At Supper restaurant in the East Village, they treat every table to a bowl of white beans soaked in garlicky olive oil. Piled onto bread, these beans may very well be one of the best dishes the restaurant has to offer. (Though you shouldn't miss the Priest Stranglers or the perfect roast chicken.) I learned to reproduce those beans for a quick appetizer by trial and error when I first moved to the city, and "the bean thing" has since become a staple in our household. Having a can of white beans and a head of garlic around means I'll never be without a snack for surprise vistors, or short on food for a party.

But a girl cannot live on bread and beans alone, so I whipped up an extended remix, full-meal version here. Garlic, beans, and olive oil are still the stars of the show, but this hearty dish has a bit more to offer: salty sausage, fresh herbs, and sweet leeks flavor the pasta. A squeeze of lemon and a shaving of parmesan finish it off.


You may have everything in your pantry and freezer to make this right now. You may even be trying the eat-down-the-pantry challenge that everyone's writing about on Egullet and The Washington Post. Here is my offering to those watching their budgets and to those whose tiny apartment freezers and pantries are just too crowded. Just make sure anyone you might want to kiss has a bite of the garlicky stuff too.


Orzo with Garlicky White Beans and Chicken Sausage

serves 2

4 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped roughly
3 tablespoons olive oil
8 fresh sage leaves, washed and torn
1/2 tsp fresh oregano leaves
2 or 3 leeks, washed carefully and chopped
3 spicy italian chicken sausages, sliced in rounds (the ones I used were fully cooked)
1/2 cup wine or pasta water
1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 lb orzo
salt
parmesan and lemon wedges for serving

In a large saute pan or 3.5 qt dutch oven, saute garlic, sage, and oregano in olive oil until garlic begins to turn translucent. Add leeks and saute several minutes until softened. Meanwhile, boil water for the orzo. When leeks are softened, push them to the side of the pan. Add sliced sausages to open space and cook, turning occasionally, until brown (if you started with raw sausages, check to make sure sausage looks cooked through.) Salt pasta water generously and cook pasta according to package directions. Deglaze saute pan with wine or pasta water ladled from the cooking pasta. Add beans, cook 10 minutes. When pasta is cooked al dente, add to bean mixture and toss. Salt generously and serve with parmesan and a lemon wedge for squeezing.

21 comments:

nithya at hungrydesi said...

It's been ages since we've been to Supper! Your description of the beans though is making me think it won't be much longer till we're back there though :) Great dish!

Phoo-D said...

Mmm...this looks delicious Maggie! I'm a big fan of orzo.

AnticiPlate said...

If this is not gourmet recession food, I don't know what is! Great job:)
I can't believe I have not been to Supper. I will have to put that on my list when I visit next.

maggie said...

K-
Supper is lovely. (Though its place as Top Neighborhood Italian may have been overtaken by Frankies Spuntino.)

When you visit, we should all hang out.

Lisa said...

How do you serve this as an appetizer?

Lisa said...

the white beans, I mean...

maggie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
maggie said...

The white bean appetizer is essentially garlic-and-herb infused oil (I sometimes just pop the garlic in the oil and microwave a few seconds) with white beans (canned, drained, rinsed, but not cooked). Lots of salt and pepper, herbs, a squeeze of lemon. Easy peasy but sooo delicious. Just make sure there's plenty of garlic, oil, and salt. Serve with crusty bread and a breath mint.

Lo said...

Anywhere where garlic, beans, and olive oil are the "stars"... I'm there. This looks positively delicious.

Elle said...

You had me at "garlicky white beans!" Love this--it looks hearty and delicious.

Michelle said...

YUM, this pasta looks to die for, I love orzo!

Chef Fresco said...

This is definitely very similar to what we like to cook. I love orzo & will have to try this recipe!

unconfidentialcook said...

I loved warm garlicy white beans so much! There's an Italian restaurant near here where I have a salad with wam white beans, portobellos and goat cheese. I've been there 100 times, and never order anything else. I, too, love orzo...and have a great recipe for it on my site under Small Bites.

biz319 said...

I love everything about this dish - especially the chicken sausage!

Thanks for sharing!

Ken Albala said...

What a splendid combination. Orzo is an unsung hero, and you do her justice pairing with beans.

pigpigscorner said...

This sounds divine. Must be very flavourful with the sausage!

Mona said...

Ah, that looks so good, making me hungry!
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erica said...

This girl actually could live on white beans and bread alone.
I am proud to feel like I made some tiny contribution to your culinary repertoire by eating the fruits of your very first attempt at the white bean deliciousness. Mmmm.

maggie said...

Eri, I never could have done it without you. :)

jose nazario said...

hit with the wife, good use for some stuff around the house. thanks for the post!

Ninette said...

I make something similar, except I use fennel and no orzo. It's so good! I'll have to try your recipe. Looks great.