This recipe calls for first frying the sausage until fully cooked and then poaching it in pasta water. Many other pasta recipes from this vendor use similar technique.

What is the goal here? Is it to improve the texture of meat, imbue it with some "pasta" taste or make kale taste meaty? Is it important to use "starch" water?

2 Answers 2


It would certainly taste fine if you simply poached the sausage, but frying first creates an environment for the Maillard reaction, and caramelization. These two effects create desirable flavors, which both enhance the sausage, and, in the case the entire dish.


As has been mentioned, the frying will brown the sausage. This also changes the texture of the casing, which can be a bit chewy if you only poach it.

I suspect that the poaching is actually the opposite of what you think— it’s so the pasta and kale get the flavor of the sausage

The poaching also helps ensures the sausage is fully cooked, which can be difficult to tell with sausage, as you can’t rely on color due to the spices.

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