CLASSIC pasta garganelli or penne with sausage
(or radiatori)
         

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This is one of those hearty, wonderful sauces, that is perfect with garganelli or penne rigate or radiatori (pictured). And it is even better if one has access to luganega, the classic long, thin pork sausage that is a specialty of Lombardy. 

This is also one of those wonderful Italian classics: a last minute dinner decision? The pasta is in the house; if you are raising your own herbs in pots, they are at your service; just a red onion, always on hand, and some Italian sausage, also always in the fridge. Right? Go! Fabulous!

(To make your own garganelli, see the instructions in garganelli with peas and prosciutto.

for the sauce:

  • three tablespoons olive oil
  • plus two more tablespoons olive oil
  • three tablespoons butter
  • one medium onion, diced (red onion is very much the best)
  • four garlic cloves, peeled and diced
  • twelve ounces fine pork sausage
  • eight ounces mushrooms, crimini or others, chopped (mushrooms are optional; fine without them)
  • one half cup white wine
  • two tablespoons chopped rosemary
  • four tablespoons chopped sage
  • two tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • one half cup freshly grated parmesan

for the pasta:

  • one pound of garganelli or penne rigate (or radiatori)

Remove the pork sausage from the skin and roughly chop it. Note: If you are using a "hot" Italian sausage, which is fine, perhaps cut the quantity a couple of ounces.

In a saute pan over medium heat, put in the butter and oil. When hot add the garlic and cook for ten seconds. Add the onion and cook two minutes. Add the mushrooms and the chopped pork sausage, and work the with a wooden spoon to break it up while cooking. Cook until it is brown. If the pan seems to be going dry, add another tablespoon of olive oil. The onions should slightly carmelize in this cooking, creating the sauce. Cook for 7-8 minutes.

Add the rosemary, sage and white wine, and cook over a low heat until the wine reduces, about two minutes. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of parsley and stir. Set aside.

Bring 4-5 quarts of water to a boil. Add two tablespoons of salt. Drop in the pasta and stir. Continue cooking until al dente Save a cup of the pasta liquid.  Drain.

Bring the sauce to heat again. Add the pasta to the sauce. Stir very well; add a tablespoon of butter and some of the reserved liquid if needed to provide some liquidity. Add the parmesan, the other tablespoon of parsley; stir again, and serve.

 


 

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