Thursday, March 31, 2011

Penne with a Slow-Cooked Sausage Sauce

When summer draws to a close and there is just the first hint of autumn in the air, I get hungry for pasta, especially the ones calling for a lot of fresh tomatoes. With a really simple salad, it is the perfect dinner.

2 tablespoons olive oil
8 fresh uncooked sweet Italian sausages, meat removed from skins and crumbled
Note: I use Caggiano Sweet Italian sausage from Sonoma Market.
2 small red onions, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 or 2 small dried hot chile pepper, seeds removed if you desire
2 bay leaves
1 cup dry red wine (preferably Chianti or Sangiovese)
1 28-ounce can peeled plum tomatoes
2 pounds fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped, see instructions if you need them
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg (or grate your own)
Salt and pepper to taste
¾ cup heavy cream
1 heaping cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese and more for the table
11 ounces penne rigate

1. Heat the oil in a large pan and sauté the sausage meat, stirring and breaking up the pieces. When the meat is cooked, add the onions, garlic, chiles, and bay leaves. Cook gently for 20 minutes or until the onions are soft and translucent.
2. Pour in the wine, increase the heat and cook until the wine evaporates.
3. Add the tomatoes, lower the heat and simmer gently until the sauce is thick, an hour or more depending on the juiciness of your tomatoes.
4. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Add the cream and keep warm over a very low heat.
5. Cook the penne until al dente. Drain well. Place it in a warm bowl and add the sauce and cheese. Stir together and serve with additional cheese.

4-6 servings
Adapted from Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers’ Rogers Gray Italian Country Cook Book

A great accompaniment:

Everyday Green Salad with Everyday Salad Dressing

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