Green with Envy Orecchiette and Red Wine Braised Sausages


  • 2 pounds – 8 short links or 4 large, hot or sweet Italian sausages
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
  • Salt
  • 1 pound orecchiette pasta
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts
  • 1 package or bunch chives, coarsely chopped or torn by hand
  • 2 cloves garlic, popped from skin, 1 clove minced, divided
  • 12 stems tarragon, 1 package or small bunch, leaves stripped from stems
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano, plus more to pass at table
  • 1 bunch green Swiss chard, stems removed and roughly chopped
  • A little freshly grated nutmeg, to taste


Place sausages in a skillet and add wine and 1 tablespoon EVOO to the pan. Place pan over medium-high heat and let the wine reduce and evaporate, 15-18 minutes. Eventually, the casings will crisp up and the wine and oil will glaze the casings.

Place a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. Salt water and cook to al dente. Heads up: you will need 1 1/2 cups, a couple of ladles, starchy cooking water just before you drain the orecchiette.

Toast hazelnuts 5 minutes over medium-low heat in a small skillet. Cool a few minutes.

Place the chives, garlic, tarragon, salt and pepper and nuts into food processor and turn it on. Stream in about 5 tablespoons EVOO and process the ingredients into a smooth but thick sauce. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and stir in the cheese. The color is stronger if you stir rather than process the cheese into the sauce.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons EVOO in a large skillet over medium high to high heat. Add greens, minced garlic and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. Sear greens, tossing them as they wilt down, 3-4 minutes.

Add cooking liquids to pesto in bowl then add pasta and greens and toss to coat the pasta and let the flavors absorb, 1 minute.

Serve 2 braised sausages with lots of greens alongside.

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Rachael Ray