Sausage and Pasta are one of the best combinations of food I can think of. The sausage adds robust flavor to the dish while the pasta just readily absorbs the sauce that you mix with it – what a lovely marriage of flavors! When we buy Italian Sausages from our favorite butcher chances are we are having a good pasta dish for dinner! So that Mark can join in he gets his own Brown rice pasta so it’s gluten-free and, naturally, everybody’s happy.
A ragù is basically an Italian pasta sauce containing meat and tomatoes; in other words, a meat-based sauce. The best example would be Bolognese sauce, which is truly one of my favorite pasta sauces. I am hoping to share pretty soon the Bolognese sauce that I always make for my family so watch this space.
However, a truly super-delicious Bolognese sauce cannot be achieved in a hurry. It can take up to 2 hours or more of slow cooking on the stove-top to get that perfect taste. It is so worth the wait, I must say! Sometimes if I have the luxury of time, especially if I plan ahead, then Bolognese is my number 1 choice. But when I want something flavorful but kind of in the 30 minute range this is my next best choice. It’s a pretty easy dish and doesn’t need 2 hours to achieve the right flavor although I must say that when I tasted the left-overs the next day – it was even better. That’s the beauty of this dish, you can enjoy it the first time and if ever you find yourself having some left-overs then you’re in for a yummy treat the next day! So enjoy this easy but flavorful Italian Sausage Ragù.
1-2 Tbsp Olive oil
1 lb Hot or Sweet (or combo) Italian sausage – diagonally cut
1 medium onion, chopped
4-6 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup red wine
3 plum tomatoes, diced or pureed in a food processor or 1 (14 oz) can diced/crushed tomatoes (juice included)
1 1/2 Tablespoon dried parsley
1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
Salt and Pepper, to taste
12 oz Penne (or your choice of pasta)
Parmesan Cheese, to pass around
Over medium heat, brown the sausages in a little olive oil in a deep frying pan. Transfer to a plate.
Bring a big pot of water to boil to begin the process of cooking your pasta. Cook the pasta according to package directions or until al dente (tender yet still firm to the bite, not mushy).
In the same pan where the sausages were cooked, saute the onion until it starts to soften, roughly 3-4 minutes. Add in the garlic and continue to cook for another minute. If it dries out too much, you may add an additional 1 Tablespoon olive oil to it.
Pour in the wine and bring to a boil. Deglaze the pan by using a wooden spoon to remove the browned bits on the bottom. Stir in the diced/crushed or pureed tomatoes (if canned, add everything including the juice) and the dried herbs. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Simmer on low, uncovered, for about 15-20 minutes or until the wine taste is no longer too prominent and the sauce has thickened. Add back the reserved sausages and cook until heated through, another 5 minutes or so. Adjust the seasoning to your taste. And if you wish to enhance the flavors some more, sprinkle a little bit of brown sugar on the dish (not to sweeten) but just to balance the flavors. This is my natural substitute for MSG. Keep warm until the pasta is ready.
After the pasta has cooked, drain it well. Place in a large serving bowl and then pour the sauce on top. Toss well and serve. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese for added flavor! Delish!
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