CLASSIC pasta penne with sausage, red onion, and lentils








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Here is a rich, hearty pasta using lentils -- a change of pace, generally.

for the sauce:

  • two tablespoons olive oil
  • one and one-half cup red onion, chopped
  • one pound Italian sweet sausage
  • two cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • one teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • one teaspoon chopped fresh sage
  • one cup red wine
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • one half cup freshly grated pecorino
  • three tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

for the pasta:

  • one pound of penne or a similar tubular pasta

Prepare the lentils.  Boil several cups of water in a saucepan. Cook the lentils, stirring occasinally, for about twenty minutes. The lentils should be tender. Drain. Set aside.

Remove the casings from the sausage and chop roughly as well as you can.,

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a saute pan. Add the garlic. Cook for fifteen seconds. Add the onion. Two minutes later add the chopped sausage. Cook for several minutes, continually beating the sausage with a wooden spoon to break it up into as small pieces as possible. Add the rosemary and sage and a half teaspoon of salt and some freshly ground pepper. Mix. Continue the cooking of the sausage until it is medium brown, about six or seven minutes, regularly beating with the wooden spoon to break up the pieces.

Add the wine. Cook for two minutes to dissipate the alcohol. Add the lentils. Stir well. Continue cooking and stirring until the lentils are heated through. Taste for salt and pepper.

Meanwhile 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. Reserve one cup of the pasta liquid. Drain.

Put the drained pasta into the saute pan with the sausage and lentils. Add a half cup of pecorino. Stir. Add enough of the reserved liquid to keep the sauce moist. Cover and increase the heat; steam for one minute to get the pasta really hot.

 Serve in heated bowls; top with parsley. Pecorino available on the side.



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