Friday, May 29, 2009

Bowties with Sausage Cream Sauce

I used to be a horribly picky eater as a kid. In fact, for several years I had my mom convinced I was allergic to corn just because I didn't like the taste. Sausages and any other mixed/casing meat were off limits and just the smell of them was enough to make me nauseous. Which makes this dish being my favorite all the more ironic.

This recipe came from a forum I used to frequent when my oldest was a baby. See my boy used to nurse about every 45 minutes during his waking hours which put a whole new spin on "nursing at the keyboard". Back then I would leisurely surf the web for new recipes and baby's development. I had way too much time.

Back to the recipe. Instead of bowties, you can use rotini or penne. If you don't have whole tomatoes, use drained diced tomatoes. If your family has never had this dish and you have picky eaters like yours truly in her heydey, then add a cup of canned pureed pumpkin in with the cream and no one will be the wiser. Anyway you make it, this dish is sure to please.

Bowties with Sausage Cream Sauce
adapted from Cherie (dnvrmama)

1 (12oz) box Bowtie pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 package - about 5 - Italian sausage, casings removed and crumbled
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
1 can Italian-style plum tomatoes (28 ounce) drained and coarsely chopped - I just squish them with my fingers
1/2 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons minced fresh basil (or 2 tsp dried)
1/4-1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

First, set a pot of water to boil for the pasta. Salt the water heavily. Then place the sausages out of their casings in the pan, along with the olive oil and crushed red pepper.

Brown sausage over medium heat, breaking up with a spoon until completely cooked through. Add onions and garlic, cooking until onion is softened. If you open your windows right now you'll have neighbors on your doorstep in under sixty seconds.

Add the drained and handcrushed tomatoes. Cook for 2-3 minutes while stirring.

Add the white wine and allow to boil for 3-4 minutes while you scrape the bottom of the pan to dislodge the browned bits. If you're using dried basil, add it now. If you're using fresh, add it right before tossing in the pasta. My garden is still in the growing stage so no fresh basil yet.

Finally add the cream, salt and bring to a simmer. Right about now your pasta water should be ready so go ahead and boil up the bowties. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer the cream sauce for about 10 minutes until thickened slightly.

See how it's thickened up? The tomatoes, basil and sausage have given up their flavor in that wonderful cream.

Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce. Toss together and taste. If it needs a little salt I add that with parmesan cheese which will give flavor as well. Add as much parmesan as you wish and toss again. The sauce will continue to thicken as it sits. Turn off the burner.

Then dig right in!

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