Continuing on my quest to cure my "sayonara-summer blues" with comfort food, I adapted this favorite from an old Bon Appétit recipe. My aunt has been making this dish for years, and after a recent visit I just couldn't stop making it for myself. However, the original makes enough to serve 4-6, and contains entirely too much heavy cream (i.e. just the right amount). With my adapted version, the end result is a dinner that's hearty, flavorful, and simple enough to make all-too-often. Though there is substantially less cream in my version, I didn't eliminate it entirely; I apologize in advance to you and your waistline.
My version serves two, so you can treat your honey or have enough for a meal later in the week. If you're dining solo, I recommend only cooking half of the pasta called for in the recipe. The small amount of extra effort required to cook up a fresh batch of noodles on night two is well worth avoiding the feeling you are eating leftovers.
CREAMY TOMATO & ITALIAN SAUSAGE PASTA
- YIELD: Serves 2; recipe can be doubled
- COOK TIME: 30 minutes (because this makes enough for you to have two meals, you can think of this as a 15 minute dinner)
- 2 cups pasta, rigatoni holds the sauce and bits of sausage
- NOTE: The amount of pasta listed in the ingredients is for TWO people. If you are cooking for one, and would prefer to make yourself fresh pasta on another night with the remaining sauce, only use 1 cup of pasta.
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced, keeping a jar of minced garlic on hand saves a lot of time, energy, and smelly fingers
- 1 italian sausage link, I prefer the spicy version - it's usually not very spicy at all and has good flavor
- 1/3 cup white wine
- 1/2 14 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- splash of cream, you can use up to a quarter cup of cream, depending on how creamy you want your sauce; you can also stir in sour cream in a pinch, or yogurt for a lighter version
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Fill a pot with water (for the pasta) and place on high heat to come to a boil.
- As the pasta water heats up, chop the onion, unwrap the sausage, and place a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add olive oil to skillet and allow it a few seconds to heat through.
- Add onion and garlic to pan and cook, stirring occasionally to ensure that the garlic does not burn, until the onions are translucent. (About 3-5 minutes.)
- Add the sausage in pieces, stirring until the sausage is just barely cooked through and no more pink shows. There will likely be some scattered brown bits stuck to skillet after this step. Don't panic!
- Add wine and stir, scraping up whatever brown bits have stuck to the pan. Continue to cook and stir until most of the liquid has evaporated. (About 2-3 minutes.)
- Add the 1/2 can of tomatoes and Italian seasoning and stir until combined. Reduce heat to low/medium low, so that the mixture continues to simmer.
- While the sauce simmers, add the pasta to your now-boiling water. I recommend salting the water.
- Once the pasta is cooked to al dente, turn the heat off of both the pasta and the sauce. Drain the pasta and plate.
- With the sauce removed from the heat, stir in cream (or yogurt or sour cream), and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Ladle over pasta and enjoy. Be doubly excited because you have epic leftovers in your near future.
Sometimes I find that the sauce is not quite liquidy enough as I would like, especially on the second night. Sauce consistency can be adjusted by adding more cream/yogurt/sour cream or another splash of wine. If you have chicken stock on hand, this also makes for an excellent way to stretch the sauce without diluting the flavor. For this reason, I recommend reheating the sauce in a skillet, but the microwave works perfectly fine as well.