February 10, 2017
I created this incredibly easy dish using fresh pappardelle pasta from the Ravioli Company and handmade Italian sausage from Cacciatore and Sons. We have so many great and wonderful local independent markets in the Bay area – we should really frequent and avail ourselves of the many bountiful fruits they produce.
This dish will take you no more than 30 minutes to prepare. Typically, tomato sauces like marinara take a while to cook down to reach its full flavorful melody. This sauce however, comes together quickly and it is as good the first half hour as it is the next day.
- 1 cup finely chopped sweet onion
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ cup chopped fresh basil
- 2 – 28 ounce cans Hunts Crushed Tomatoes
- 1 – 6 ounce can Tomato paste
- 1 pound Italian sausage
- ½ cup English peas
- 1 pound pappardelle fresh pasta from the Ravioli Company. Of course you can use dried – but why would you when we have Dwight and Lauren Otis from the Ravioli Company making it for us
- Parmesan cheese for grating
Step One – Roasting Sausage
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut the Cacciatore and Son’s Italian sausage into 1/2 “ circular rounds, or even 2” to 3” lengths…depending on your preference. Place on baking sheet. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, salt and red pepper flakes and bake until brown – about 10 to 20 minutes depending on how large you sliced the sausage. Set aside.
Melt butter with EVOO in heavy bottom pot on medium heat. Add onions and sweat until translucent but not browned. Add garlic, pepper flakes, stir and cook one minute. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, salt and sugar. Stir completely and bring to a quick boil on medium high heat. Add sausage and fresh basil. Stir and cover, and let simmer on low heat until ready to use – at least a half hour.
Add six quarts of water to a large pot and boil on high heat. Add 3 tablespoons kosher salt, stir and add pasta. Since it is fresh, you only need to boil 2 to 3 minutes. If it is dried, follow directions on the package – usually about 10 to 13 minutes. Drain pasta after it is cooked…but never rinse cooked pasta for you want the starch to remain on the pasta so the sauce will adhere to the pasta better. Also, if you are saucing a pasta – don’t finish with oil or butter or your sauce will slide right off the pasta. It is best to sauce the pasta immediately after cooking.
A Note About Salted Pasta Water
The most common mistake people make in cooking pasta is not using enough salt in the water. The water you cook pasta in should taste like the sea…otherwise it will be bland and tasteless. 3 tablespoons to 6 quarts of water is a good measuring gage. I prefer Diamond Crystal Kosher salt for all my cooking.
Toss pasta with sauce and sausage – add English peas. I use frozen Birds Eye – just run them for 30 seconds under warm tap water and they are good to go. Top with fresh grated parmesan cheese and a basil leaf. Serve with a side salad, a piece of garlic toast, and your favorite wine. Enjoy!
- Add braised cremini mushroom and/or spinach, or blanch broccoli rabe in boiling water, then pan seared in a hot pan with EVOO, either would go well in this dish.
- Stir in a ¼ cup of heavy cream, 1 tablespoon soft butter, and 2 ounces vodka to the sauce right before it’s done for a delicious vodka sauce. Maybe throw in some sliced black olives and top with a dollop of whole milk ricotta cheese. It’s all good.
- Remember, a recipe serves as a guide only. Make recipes your own by adding your favorite touches.