Sunday Pasta®: Paccheri con Salciccia, Zucchini e Burrata
Everyone knows that The David (il Davide) is a masterpiece created by the 26-year-old artistic genius Michelangelo in 1504. The long lines to get into the Accademia Gallery in Florence are worth the wait to the see the 17-foot-tall sculpture, carved by hand, out of a single block of white Carrara marble. (Needless to say that at age 26 my talents were being otherwise utilized.) If you cannot get tickets to see the original sculpture, you can always see a replica, installed by the city in 1910 in the same location as the original, in the Piazza della Signoria. The replica doesn’t deliver nearly the same breathtaking punch of the original, but you’ll get the idea.
I cannot help but think of all of the artistic genius that emanates from Florence – culinary genius too. I recently ate a spectacular original version of today’s Sunday Pasta recipe at il Francescano, just off the Piazza Santa Croce, alongside the Basilica containing DaVinci’s bones. I had never before enjoyed such a delicious bowl of paccheri, with sausage and zucchini, topped with fresh burrata. It was probably not the first time or place that this combination of flavors had been served, but I figured that as long as the city can knock off the David, then I could copy a bowl of pasta. Not nearly as good as the original, but you’ll get the idea.
In a large skillet, over medium heat, sauté the sausage in a little olive oil, breaking it apart with a fork until crumbled. Add the onion, with a bit more olive oil if it seems dry. When the onion is translucent, add the zucchini, and cook until the mixture is golden brown. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, in a large pot of salted water, cook the pasta until just before al dente. Drain the pasta, retaining one cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the sausage mixture and add a bit of the cooking water if it seems dry, mixing thoroughly over medium heat. Distribute the pasta into serving bowls, and top of with a slice of burrata. Sprinkle with Parmigiano if desired. Serve immediately.