I bought a large bag of parsnips from a local farm stand last week in my quest to eat more local and more seasonally. When it came time to use them I didn’t feel like having plain roasted parsnips so I decided to put them right into our pasta dinner. It is the sweetness of the roasted parsnips that I thought would pair well with the spiciness of the Italian sausages and hot chilies and it worked well.
I find parsnips to be a strange root vegetable. Don’t be turned off by their unattractiveness (before they have been dealt with they are dirty, strangely shaped and hairy) once they have been prepped and roasted they have a sweet spiciness unlike any other root vegetable. They are closely related to carrots but have a much stronger flavour and are actually richer in vitamins and minerals.
Parsnip and Italian Sausage Pasta Recipe(serves 2)
Preheat oven to 375F. Peel parsnips and chop evenly into chunks no bigger then 1" square. Toss on a cookie sheet with one tablespoon olive oil and salt and pepper. Bake for 25 minutes or until cooked through and gently, evenly, browned turning a few times as they are baking.
Put a bot of salted water on the stove on high and bring to a boil. Meanwhile heat a skillet to medium and add the remaining olive oil. Add sausage to the skillet breaking it into chunks. Brown all over. Remove to a plate and lower heat to medium low. Add onion, garlic and chiles and saute until translucent. Add butter and stir until melted, whisk in flour and let cook, whisking occasionally for a minute. Gently whisk in 3/4 of the chicken stock and bring mixture to a simmer. Add back in sausage and parsnips. Gently simmer mixture adding more chicken stock if necessary as well as salt and pepper to taste.
Cook fettuccine according to package directions and strain. Stir parsley into sauce. Toss with half the sauce and serve with remaining sauce on top.