Sunday, October 08, 2006

Sausage Pasta. Easy and Always Successful

One of the things I learned when I was dating was that a foolproof meal is a good way to a girl's heart (and some other places). There are a variety of dishes that work. The trick is to find things that are easy to make, don't take a lot of kitchen implements, and easy to clean. This last one took me a while, but if your apartment looks good when they arrive, the better your chances. When your married, easy to clean as you go at least helps you not have to "help" clean up after making dinner in the first place. Sausage Pasta requires almost no additional seasoning, is hard to overcook, and tastes good cold out of the fridge the next day. All ingredients can be bought at any supermarket. If your girlfriend is a vegetarian and you are not, my advice is to move on before you go any further. Mixed marriages are difficult.

recipe (c) 2006


One can peeled whole Italian Tomatoes (35 oz)
One Onion, peeled and cut up into 1/4" dice (pieces about that size)
Three garlic cloves, cut into thin slices
Olive oil for frying
6 Hot Italian Sausages (the raw kind in the butcher's section). You can use 8 for meatier sauce.
Salt to Taste
One pound pasta such as penne

Large pot for pasta
Bowl for holding sausage after it is removed from its casing
Skillet for browning onions, garlic and sausage
4 quart pot or so for cooking pasta (you can do it in a large enough skillet, but its a mess)
Good knife for chopping onions and garlic (more on knives in a later blog)
colander for pasta
Various spoons for stirring etc.

Fill pasta pot 1/2 way or so with water. Add ~1 teaspoon salt for each 2 quarts of water and some oil (I don't know, lets say two tablespoons). Place on stove covered and place water to boil. Do this first so you won't have to sit around seeing if a watched pot will boil later.

Take the sausage, and make a slit across the casing the long way. Push the meat out of the casing into a bowl. Discard the casings. You may want to mash it up a bit with your fingers. Put aside until you are done with the onions and garlic.

Chop onions and garlic. Place olive oil in the bottom of skillet (it should coat the skillet easily). Place on high heat and when oil just begins to smoke add onions and about a minute later add garlic. You should be stirring constantly to prevent burning. Onions always take longer than you think to saute, and it usually takes about 5 minutes for the onions to soften somewhat and begin to turn brown. Remove from heat and pour onions into the pot you will cook the sauce in.

Use a paper towel to clean off anything that may be left in the pan. Put in a bit more oil. Add the sausage. Use a spoon or metal spatula to mash up the meat as much as possible. Brown the sausage. It should look cooked. Pour off excess fat and add to the pot for the sauce.

Open the tomato can. Pour some of the liquid into the pot for the sauce. Mash up the rest with your hands, so that the tomatoes are all somewhat smashed. Place them in the pot. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce heat to the lowest you can. The sauce will simmer slightly. Cook for at least 1/2 hour and up to one hour. Stir occasionally. This will give you plenty of time to prepare the table, etc.

Cook the Pasta: Add the pasta to the boiling water about 1/2 hour before you want to eat. This will give you a chance to drain it etc. Before draining, add a little bit of the liquid (two tablespoons or so) to the sausage sauce.

Turn the heat off the sauce about 10 minutes before you want to serve it. This will allow it to set. Taste it. Add salt if needed. Place on pasta. Buy some pre-made salad. Wa-laa.


nygirl said...

"When your married, easy to clean as you go at least helps you not have to "help" clean up after making dinner in the first place. "

When did this happen? Sorry, couldn't help it.

Robin said...

C'mon, nygirl, there is the word "male" before the martha.

lisa said...

How would you recommend a girl convinces her husband to try to make this past sauce too? As for cleaning up as you go - could you please explain this concept for those of those who have never seen this done.

Ira.B said...

"Cleaning up as you go", like so many things, is relative. In my case it includes picking up large things and putting them somewhere else. I try to leave the details to others.