Pasta with a punch

THE WASHINGTON POSTMay 7, 2014 

FOOD-PASTA181

Cavatelli With Braised Sauerkraut.

THE WASHINGTON POST

At first glance, this dish might seem something simple and soothing, but quick-braised sauerkraut and a mustard-spiked mascarpone add bursts of brightness.

It uses cavatelli pasta, which resemble tiny hot dog buns, but any pasta shape that can hold the sauce, such as the shell shapes, would work.

Consider adding bacon on the side. Peas are a nice addition in the spring.

Look for an all-natural sauerkraut with few ingredients.

CAVATELLI WITH BRAISED SAUERKRAUT

4 servings

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium yellow onion

2 cups drained sauerkraut;

1/2 cup mascarpone chees

2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

8 ounces dried cavatelli pasta

1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

2 tablespoons unsalted butter.

Chives for garnish

Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 the onion, thinly sliced. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned, 5 to 10 minutes.

Add 2 cups drained sauerkraut; reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauerkraut has wilted and softened but hasn't become mushy, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.

Whisk together mascarpone cheese, whole-grain mustard and sea salt in a bowl.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the cavatelli pasta and cook until not quite al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.

Return the sauerkraut mixture to medium heat. Add the pasta along with 1/2 cup of its cooking water, stirring to combine. Stir in the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and unsalted butter. Cook briefly, adding more cooking water to form a creamy sauce.

Spoon a dollop of the mascarpone mixture on each portion, then sprinkle minced chives over the top (a total of 3 tablespoons).

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