Sunday, May 20, 2012

Rigatoni with Chicken Sausage, Tomatoes and Cream

Trader Joe's sells a Sicilian chicken sausage that in the words of Mary Poppins, is practically perfect in every way. I try to keep some in the freezer at all times for a quick weeknight meal. My go-to preparation is to sautee it with some onions and red peppers, mix in a jar of spaghetti sauce, doctor it with whatever herbs I'm in the mood for, and voila' -- dinner!
 Every once in awhile, however, I get bored with that old standby, and decide to branch out. Enter my good friend, the Epicurious app. A quick search yielded this 4-fork, blue-ribbon recipe, which I can now add to the weeknight rotation. It's simple. It uses ingredients I tend to have on hand. And it's absolutely delicious.

For my first attempt, I made as written, heavy cream and all. Next time, I'll try lightening it up with some haf-and-half. I have a feeling it will be just as good.

Rigatoni with Chicken Sausage, Tomatoes, and Cream
(adapted slightly from Epicurous)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound Italian chicken sausage, casings removed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with added puree
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1 pound rigatoni (or your favorite pasta)
  • 1/2 cup (packed) chopped fresh basil
  • Freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and crushed red pepper. Sauté until sausage is no longer pink, breaking up with back of fork, about 5 minutes. Add onion and garlic; sauté until onion is tender and sausage is browned, about 3 minutes longer. Add tomatoes and cream. Reduce heat to low and simmer until sausage mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Return pasta to same pot. Add sausage mixture and toss over medium-low heat until sauce coats pasta, adding reserved cooking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls if mixture is dry. Transfer pasta to serving dish. Sprinkle with basil. Serve, passing cheese separately.

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