Pasta with Ground Pork, Greens and Italian Sausage Seasonings
Serves 4 to 6
Sometimes, you have to create a recipe out of necessity. My mother appeared to have developed an allergy and we mistakenly narrowed it down to tomatoes since we had been on tomato overload from the garden all summer. So, we decided she should cut down on her tomato consumption for awhile. But we were both really craving my Pasta with Pork and Tomato Ragu, which is in the similar and related recipes links. I wanted to come up with a similar pasta, minus the tomatoes, that would satisfy, and this did the trick. I love the combination of the ground pork and greens with the Italian sausage seasonings. And, since the ground pork I use is very lean, it is healthier and lighter than pasta made with store-bought sausage. As it turned out, Mom was not allergic to anything. However, I continue to make this pasta for a quick, easy, and delicious meal.
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound lean ground pork
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon dry rubbed sage
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon dried savory
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped, about 1-1/2 cups
- 6 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 bag (16 ounces) frozen chopped turnip greens (or similar frozen greens)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup dry white wine or vermouth
- 1 pound penne rigate or similar pasta
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, then the pork. Sauté, stirring and breaking apart into very small pieces. Add the fennel seed, sage, thyme, marjoram, savory, salt and pepper. Lower heat to medium. Add the red peppers and cook until tender and meat is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Add the water and wine, stirring to scrape up all of the browned bits in the bottom of the pan. Add the greens, salt and pepper, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook until greens are tender, about 20 minutes, depending on type of greens used. Add a little more water while cooking if the mixture dries out.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions for al dente. Drain, reserving some of the pasta water. Taste the pork and greens, adding more seasoning if necessary. Add the pasta to the sauce and toss well. If needed, add some of the reserved pasta water for extra moisture. Cover and let set for about one minute. Serve immediately, passing the grated cheese separately.