I love turnips. Sue me.
I know it's not something most people would say they have an affinity for, but their spicy kick gives me reason to swoon.
Our love affair is rather new. I came across lovely cool weather hakurei turnips in my Winter CSA from Heron Pond Farm in South Hampton, NH, last year. I made a gratin out of them, my husband fell in love, and this torrid relationship has continued ever since. While I'm not taking part in a winter CSA this year, I'm glad I've done it once. I found so many vegetables that I simply would have passed by a year or so ago. You receive amazingly fresh foods, and they can spark your creativity in the process.
We're fans of comfort food in this house, especially once the cold weather seeps in. We're busy people. I help run a major market newsroom and my husband is in school and working at the same time. Even the pugs are busy.... sleeping 16 hours a day. On the weekends, we all like to curl up at night with a good movie, a good hockey game, a good bottle of wine, and a meal that will keep us warm all night long.
This pasta falls into the comfort food category. It's decadent and creamy without being too heavy. So the other night, when I had little else in the house other than turnips, again from Heron Pond Farm, and some hot Italian turkey sausage (yes, I use it in everything, I love it), this pasta was born out of necessity.
Sausage and Turnip Gratin Pasta
Inspired by: GF-Zing adapted from Gourmet/2007
- 2 bunches hakurei turnips, cleaned well, greens removed
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Romano cheese.
- 1/2 pound hot Italian turkey sausage (or regular Italian sausage)
- 1 pound dried penne
- Cut off the top and tail of the turnips, slice into 1/4 inch slices.
- Melt butter in a non-stick 12-inch skillet (choose one with a lid) and layer turnip slices in pan. Sprinkle the turnips with thyme, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper.
- Cook in butter over medium heat for 3 minutes.
- Cover turnips with the heavy cream and chicken stock, put lid on and cook over medium heat (making sure not to scald the cream) for 20 minutes.
- While the turnips are cooking, boil the water for your pasta, cook until al dente, and drain, reserving some of the pasta water.
- At the same time you're cooking the pasta, remove turkey sausage from their casings, and brown in a skillet. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate and set aside.
- After 20 minutes, the turnips will be softened. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over top of cooked turnips and put lit back on for 3-4 minutes until cheese is melted over the turnips.
- At this point, remove the lid, add your sausage and your pasta, and 1/4 of a cup reserved water from the pasta and toss until well-combined.
- Serve with plenty of extra parmesan and romano cheese.