As much as I enjoy spending time cooking in the kitchen, there are times when I’d rather not make a huge mess and instead grab some take-out. It’s true…I do indulge in take-out on occasion and then regret it when the food arrives cold and tasteless.
Tonight was one of those nights. I was dropping hints to my husband that I had souvlaki on my mind. He inquired about the organic sausages that were still in the fridge, suggesting that I cook them up with pasta, a meal I’d made 2 weeks ago that he simply loved. He offered to wash the dishes up afterwards. Done!
Truth be told, we are not serious sausage fans and I seldom buy them. However, last month on a whim, I picked up some house-made sausages from a local health food market. The pork used in the sausage comes from Cumbrae’s Farms in Ontario, the same place as our chicken. The sausages were a hit and so my husband picked up more earlier this week.
I set to work preparing the pasta and sausage dish. I moved fast, chopping up the vegetables, stirring the pasta, and of course, cutting my finger on the lid of the canned tomatoes. I was determined to get the meal on the table in less than an hour. Forty minutes later (okay, maybe it was 45 minutes later), my spoon dived in and the results were so worth it! No Greek take-out could have tasted as good as this meal. My husband quickly inhaled his food and said that he could easily have had another bowlful.
This is one of those dishes that is so easy to make. It’s also big on flavour. Perhaps, it’s the organic sausages or maybe it’s the Greek oregano I brought back from Greece this past summer or maybe, it’s the thick, imported Greek olive oil I used to fry up the vegetables. Whatever it is, it’s dang good.
rigatoni with sausage (makes 4 servings)
1 box of whole wheat rigatoni or penne pasta
1 litre of cold, salted water
few drops vegetable oil for pasta water
3 tbs Greek olive oil
1 jumbo clove garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 heaping tbs Greek oregano
7 plum tomatoes from can, crushed or chopped
3 pork sausages, chopped
fresh ground pepper
1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes
grated Grana Padano cheese or other hard, salty cheese
1. Add a few drops of oil and a pinch of salt to the cold water. Bring water to a boil and add your pasta. Cook for 10 minutes and then add cold water to pot. Strain pasta. The cold water slows down the cooking process and rinse away excess starch to prevent pasta from sticking. Return strained pasta to pot. Set aside.
2. Heat olive oil. Add garlic and onions and sauté for 10 minutes. Add red pepper and oregano. Stir everything together. Sauté for another 5 minutes. Remove mixture from skillet into a bowl. Set aside.
3. Add the chopped sausage to the skillet and fry. Allow the meat to fry for 15 minutes until the skin is crispy and browned. Move the sausages around with spoon to prevent sticking. Return the sautéed vegetables to the sausage and continue to fry for 5 more minutes, mixing everything together. Add chopped tomatoes, salt, pepper, chili flakes. Let everything simmer for 10 minutes.
4. When the sausage mixture looks done, add it to the strained pasta. Mix everything thoroughly. Spoon the pasta and sausage into a bowl, add some grated salty cheese over top and serve hot.