Friday, January 31, 2014

Tom's "Go-To" Pasta

Tom's "Go-To" Pasta

As the weather turns colder in our part of the world, a hearty pasta meal sounds good to us.  One day I looked at what we had lying around and came up with this recipe.  Although I have varied it from time to time, it is essentially the same each time I make it.  The basis is Italian hot ground sausage, tomato and basil sauce and rigatoni.  The remaining ingredients are what I play around with. But what I will write about today is my tried and true recipe.   My "Go-To" Pasta recipe.

I love Bolognese sauce and this kind of reminds me of that.  It is rich in sausage and tomato-basil flavor.  Very easy to make and very tasty to eat.

Try it and I think you will like it!

  ---Tom


Tom's "Go-To" Pasta
(4 servings)

1-1 1/2 pounds hot ground Italian sausage
1 jar of tomato and basil sauce (I have grown fond of Newman's Own Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce)
1 T minced or chopped garlic
1 T brown sugar
1 T dried basil, or 2-3 sprigs of fresh basil, chopped without the stems
1-2 T olive oil
1 box of rigatoni pasta, or any other pasta that you prefer
In a medium size sauce pan over medium high heat, heat the olive oil and then brown the sausage breaking it up as you go.  When most of the pink is gone from the sausage, add the garlic and sauté for another minute or so.  Check the level of fat in the pan.  If there is a lot of fat in the pan, drain some of it off.  But don't worry if you cannot get the majority of it out.

Next add the jar of tomato and basil sauce.  Stir the mixture.
Now add the brown sugar and mix it in thoroughly.  You will see it actually start to dissolve in the liquid mixture.
Finally add the basil and stir it in as well.
Reduce the heat so that the mixture is simmering and cook it this way for an hour.  What this long simmer does is bring together a real marriage of all of the ingredients.  Makes it very smooth as well.
Cook the rigatoni pasta per the directions on the package.  I always cook it to al dente, but you can cook it to whatever desired "doneness" you prefer.  Drain the pasta in a colander and put it back into the cooking pan.  Now add the tomato sauce mixture to the pasta and stir thoroughly making sure the pasta is well coated.  Let this rest for a full minute to insure the pasta absorbs some of the sauce.
Plate your concoction and generously add shredded or grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese.

As there are just two of us at home, I find that there are plenty of leftovers.  Store the leftovers in a container and microwave the next day, or whenever.  We find it is just as good the next day as the first even though most of the tomato sauce will have been absorbed by the pasta.

This is a really easy recipe and very good to eat dish .  That is why it has become my "Go-To" pasta meal.

     ----Tom

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