I’m tempted to say that pasta shapes have never mattered to me, but on whatever minor level it may be, I do prefer certain kinds over others. Long shapes like spaghetti, linguine and bucatini are great, as well as standard short pastas like penne and rigatoni. But when it comes to “wagon wheel” pasta, bowties, and fusilli, for some reason I’m not as charmed. But the little ear-shaped orecchiette pasta has always been a favorite of mine. It is special enough that I don’t have it all the time, but not so fancy that it feels pretentious.
This orecchiette with roasted red peppers and sausage is definitely not pretentious, and is easy enough to throw together in a half hour. The flavors of the sausage, spinach and red pepper blend perfectly with the parmesan, basil and a small spritz of lemon juice at the end. It’s the kind of pasta that doesn’t just feel like a big bowl of starch but can be as hearty or light as you want.